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r/ >W6.3,/^ 



y E N I C E,, 







New York: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 





In this volume I proposed to write a biography of Venice, 
and if it had seemed advisable I ehould have prefixed that 
title to my book. Believing that a State ia an organic 
whole, and that Buch an organism can be more easily 
Btndied in a City- than in a Territorial- State, it apjieared 
to me that the Venetian Republic presented one of the 
most striking examples oi" the inception, birth, adolescence, 
decline, and death of a community which history has to 
offer for our observation. 

Throughout her career the personality of the Republic 
overshadows the personality of even her most distinguished 
citiitens. No State, except Athena, has ever presented, at 
the very core of her life, the idea of Jiei-self with such 
sumptuous personification in art. Athene in the Parthenon, 
Venice in the Ducal Palace, offer the two moat illuBtrious 
examples of a nation's self-portraiture through painting and 
through scidpture. 

Witli this conception in view, I have attempted to 

note the generation and gestation of the race ; to display the 

operation of extrinsic circumstances, such as geographical 

And natural position, in the formation of its character ; 

trace the procedure of those intrinsic qualities, such 

commercial spirit, scepticism, seamanship, which led the 


nation to pursue its peculiar line of development ; and to 
demonstrate the action of external forces in urging the 
State to commit errors, for which she paid the penalty with 
her life. My endeavour has been to state facts, and then 
to suggest causes and consequences. 

I am aware that such a method is exposed to a serious 
danger ; it may induce the writer to strain facts in order 
to suit a theory, may lead him to construct what Ferrari 
styled Storia ideale, of which his own book is a luminous 
specimen. I have done my best, however, to avoid this 
patent danger by clinging close to facts, and I present my 
reading of causes and consequences as nothing more than 
suggestions, which I state strongly because they are the 
best I am able to offer. A closer acquaintance with facts, 
an acuter perception of cause, may lead my readers to 
different conclusions. 

Without the continual assistance of Romanin's Storia 
documentata di Venezia, an invaluable mine of information, 
I could not have written this book. I have made use of 
many other authorities, however, and their names will be 
found in a short bibliography, which I trust may prove of 
service to those who desire to pursue the study of Venice 
further than I have been able to conduct them. 

My sincerest thanks are due to Mr. J. A. Symonds, 
who, in the course of reading the proofs, which he most 
kindly undertook to do, made many and various suggestions 
of the highest value for the construction of the work. 


Ca' Torresella, 
Venice, December 1892. 



List of Illustrations xiv 

List of the Dooes xv 

List of Books on the History of Venice xix 


The lagoons of Venice — Their geography — Early settlements— Rivalry 

between lagoon townships — First Doge 1 


Growth of the Republic between Eastern Empire, Italian Kingdom, and 

Roman Church — Concentration at Rialto 20 


£xx>ansion of the Republic by wars with Saracens and with Sclav 
pirates — Development of constitution — Hereditary tendency in the 
Dukedom 40 


Pietro Orseolo II. — The new Venice — Commerce — Development of the 

Dukedom 63 


Venice as a State — Independent — No feudal system — Commerce — 

Constitution 79 




The Crusades — ^The Normans — The Lombard League — Finance . 84 


Finance — Congress of Venice — Fourth Crusade 106 


Results of Fourth Crusade — Frederick IL — War of Ferrara— Inquisition 

— Gknoa and Venice 131 


The new aristocracy — Food supply — Development of the constitution — 

The oligarchy — Closing of the Great Council . . .149 


Comparison between Venice and other Italian States — War of Ferrara — 
First step on mainland — ^Tiepoline conspiracy — Council of Ten — 
Venetian constitution 165 


Expansion of Venice — ^Trade — Industries — Population— Scala — Carrara 

— ^The Turks — Plague — Genoa and Venice 184 


Hungarian war — Finance — Revolt of Candia — War with Can'ara — 

Genoa and Venice — ^War of Chioggia 206 

The Carraresi — Venice becomes a mainland power .... 236 


Venice in the fourteenth century 250 




A now dei)arture — Considerations on the result of Venetian expansion 
on mainland — Sigismund — Mohammed the CJonqueror — Tommaso 
Mocenigo— Tlie Visconti — Florentine alliance .... 260 


Francesco Foscari — Venice on the mainland — Fall of Constantinople — 

New order of things 280 


Results of Foscari's Dogeship — Venice alone against the Turks — 
Finance — Cyi)rus — ^Discovery of the Cape route — Advent of ultra- 
montane powers, Charles VIII., Maximilian, Louis XII. — 
Combination against Venice at Cambray 307 

League of Cambray — Results for Venice 338 

The weakness of Venice — Turkish wars 367 

Venice and the Church — Fra Paolo Sarpi 380 


The development of the Council of Ten — ^The Inquisitors of State — The 

invasion of French ideas 398 

Conclusion— Revival of Venetian art— Fall of the Republic . . 417 

Index 425 


Plan op Vknicb ..... FrorUispiece, 
The Lagoon op Venice, 600-800 a.d. . . To face p. 2 

Sketch Map op the War op Chioqgia . ,,230 

Yenetian Possessions in Italt and Dalhatia „ 299 

Venetian Possessions in the Levant, 1204-1600 „ 322 


NAKE. ^^^^'^ 


1. Paolo Lucio Anafesto . , , . . 697 

2. Marcello Tegaliano 


3. Orso Ipato 


4. Deodato 


5. GfJla Gaulo . 


6. Domenico Monegario 


7. Maurizio Qalbaio 


>f Giovanni Galbaio 


9. Obelerio Antenorio 


10. Agnello Particiaco 


XXi Giustiniano Particiaco 


J^ Giovanni Particiaco I. 


13. Pietro Tradonico 


JA: Orso Particiaco I. 


J^ Giovanni Particiaco II 


16. Pietro Candiano L 


17. Pietro Tribuno T 



>87 Orso Particiaco II. 


>&. Pietro Candiano II. . 


a9r Pietro Particiaco 


ar.' Pietro Candiano III. . 


^. Pietro Candiano IV. , 


"23. Pietro Orseolo L 


^. Vitale Candiano 


jMT. Tribuno Memo 


26. Pietro Orseolo II. 


27. Otto Orseolo . 


28. Pietro Centranico 


29. Domenico Flabianico . 


30. Domenico Contarini 


31. Domenico Selvo 


32. Vitale Falier . 


33. Vitale Michiel I. 



34. Ordehfo Falier 
3fi. Domenico Michiel 

36. Pietro Polani 

37. Doiueiiieo Horosini 

38. Vitale Micliiel IL 

39. Sebastian Ziani 

40. Orio Malipiero 

41. Enrico Daudulo 

42. Piutro Ziani . 

43. Jiu'opo Tiepolo 

44. Marino Morosini 

45. Henier Zeno . 

46. Loreuzo Tiepolo 

47. Jaoopo Contariiii 

48. Giovanni Dandolo 

49. Pietro Orftdenigo 

60. Mariii Zorzi . 

61. Giovanni Soronzo 

52. Fraiicimcu Dandolo 

53. Bartolomeo Grudenigo 

64. Andrea Dandolo 

56. Maiia Folier 
66. Gioviinni Oradenigo . 

57. Giovauiii Doltiu 
68. Lorenzo Celsi 

59. Murco Corner 

60. Andrea CoiitarinJ 

61. Miclicle Slorosini 

62. Antonio Venier 

63. Miulicle Steuo 

C4. Toinmaso Mocenigo 

65. Francesco Foacari 

66. Faaquule Mallpiero 

67. Crisloforo Moro 

68. Nicol.) Tron . 
G9. Xicoli'i Slnrcello 

70. Piutro ^[ucenigo 

71. Andrea Vend mm in 

72. Giuvanni Mocenigu 

73. llnrcu Barliarigo 

74. AgoBtino Barliarigo 

75. Luunardu Lori^lan 

76. Antonio OriniiLni 

77. Andrea Oritii 

78. ?ietro Lando 

79. Francesco Doimto 
BO. Antonio Trevisan 






81. Francesco Vcnier 

6S. Lorenzo Priuli 

83. Girolamo Priuli 

84. Pietro Loredano 

85. Alviee Mocenigo 

86. Stbaati.ino Veiiier 

87. Nicol6 da Ponte 

86. Paaquale Cicogna 

89. Marin Grimani 

90, Leonardo Dunato 
81. Marc' Antonio Memr 
99. Giovanni Seinbv 

93. Nicolft Donnto 

94. Antonio Priuli 

05. Fmnceaco Contorini 

96. Giovanni ComiLro 

87. Nicol/) Contorini 

98. Francesco Erizzo 

99. Fmncesco MoHd 

100. C'iirlo Contarini 

101. Franweco Cornaro 

102. Bertucci VaUer 

103. QioTanni Puaro 

104. Donienico ContBTini . 

105. NicoU Sagrcdo 

1 06. Alvise Contarini 

107. Marc' Antonio Oil! 

108. Francesco MoroBini , 

109. Silvestro Valier 

110. A] viae Mocenigo 

111. Giovanni Corner 

112. Alviae "Mocenigo 

113. Carlo Ruziin 

1 14. Alviso Pisani 

1 15. Pietro Uriniani 

116. Francesco Lorcdano . 

117. Marco Foscarini 

118. Alvise Mocenigo 

119. Paolo Boiier 

1 20. Lodovico Manin 









H CicogDA. SMiografia Viwaiana Venezia, 1885 


■ Soraazo, Bibliografia Vtnmana Venezia, 1847 


^H Gbksbal Hibtobibs — 



^M Bomanin, Lesioni di Storia Vmeta Firenze, 1875 


^H Daru, Storia delta SepuUita di Veiunui, trad. d. Fraiiceiie 


■ Capolago,! 1837 


^P Hozlitt, Hiiiory of the Vmidian S<^ublic London, I860 


^ Diedf, Storia dttla EepuUica di Vffnaia Veneiia, 1792 



MuBBtti, Storut ifiui Lembo di Terra Padova, 1886 


■ Capelktti, Sloria d^lla BepvUica di Vfn^»ia Vecena, 1S50 


■ Filiaai, Mfmorii Stori/^hi de' VeiKti primi t Kco«di 


^m Venezia, 1796 


^1 GaUiedoli, Memorie Votete Venezia. 1795 


^H Uutinelli, ^n?ia2i Urbani di Vcnena Venezia, 1841 


^H Vmetia e k me Loffime Venezia, 1847 




^P Hicbiel, Origine delU fate VenaHane Royi)^o, 1659 


■ ShtOafrom Vmelian Hilary London, 1848 


^m CBsasicLEs — 


^fe Ormadie Veiteaiam Antichi^mae — (1) Oronica de Sitigulis 



^H Giovanni Diacano {Sagamino) Oronata, edit. Monticolo 


^B Roma, 1890 


ilhe ^H 

^■^I^NUiiah Cojupiraoy." 



Chronicles — vols. 

Chronicon Venetum quod Altinate nuncupatuVy ap. Moru 

Germ. Hist. Scrip., torn, xiv., also Arch. Stor. Ital., 

torn. viii. 1 

Marti no da Canale, La Oronaca dei Venezianiy Arch. Stor. 

ItaLy torn. viii. Firenze, 1845 1 

Lorenzo de Monacis, Chronicon Venetiis, 1768 1 

Andreae Danduli Chronicon Vendum, ap. Muratori, Ber. 

Ital. Scrip,, torn. xii. 
Cortussii Historia, ap. Muratori, Rer. ItaL Scrip., torn. xii. 
Gattari, Istoria Padovana, ap. Muratori Ber. Ital. Scrip., 

torn. xviL 
Sanudo, Vitce Ducum, ap. Muratori, Rer. Ital. Scrip., torn. 

Chronicon Venetum {PriuLi), 1494-1500, ap. Muratori, Eer. 

Ital. Scrip., torn. xxiv. 
Sanudo, Diarii, 1496-1523, Venezia, in course of publication 
Malipiero, Annali Vendi, 1467-1500, Arch. Stor. ItaL, 

torn. vii. 2 

Chiuazzi, Cronaca della Guerra di Chioggia Milano, 1865 1 
Villcliardouin, La Conquite de Congtantinople Paris, 1872 1 

Official Histories — 

Sabellico, Rerum Venetarum, libri xxxiii Venetiis, 1487 1 

Bemho, Historice Venetce, libri xii. Venetiis, 1551 1 

Paruta, Hidoria Vinitiana Vinetia, 1606 1 

Morosini, Historia Veneta Venetiis, 1623 1 

Naui, Historia delta Repuhlica Veneta Bologna, 1680 2 

Giustiniani, De Origins Urbis Venetiarum Venetiis, 1534 1 

Ar<^ivio Veneto In course of publication 

R. Deputazione Veneta sopra gli Studi di Storia Patria, Publi- 


Boerio, Dizionario Venesdano Venezia, 1867 1 

Mutinelli, Ijcssico Veneto Venezia, 1851 1 

Political — 

Gfrorer, Geschichte Venedigs bis zum Jahre 1084 Graz, 1872 1 
Pears, The Fall of Constantinople London, 1886 1 

Baer, Die Beziehungen Venedigs zum Kaiserreidi^ in der 

StaufiscJien Zeit Innsbruck, 1888 1 

Squitinio della libertd, Veneta Mirandola, 1612 1 

Verci, Storia della Marca Trevigiana Venezia, 1786 20 

Kohlscbiitter, Venedig unter dem Herzog Peter II. Orseolo 

Gottingen, 1888 4 
Spangenberg, Can grande I. ddla Scala Berlin, 1892 1 

Tentori, // vero caratere politico di Bajamonte Tiepolo 

Venezia, 1798 1 

Political — 

CitladeUa, Storia della Dinaintaimie Carrarene in Padova 

Padova, 1842 
Hopf, DcT Rath <Sm Tkhn 

Macchi, Utaria del CvTuiglio d^ Died Tgrino, 1848 

LaraauBky, SeenU d'Etat de Venis« Saint PiStersbourg, 1884 
Fceaman, SuJyataftdNeighboaTLandtafVeTiiice London, 1881 
Armigniiud, Venue el le Bat-Empire Puris, 1936 

Battistella, R Conte Carmagnola Qenova, ]880 

Cibrorio, Ojnacoli Stonci Milano, 1835 

Eabieri, Franeaco Prima S/ona Firenne, 187fl 

Ttaadola, LiiCadutadeUn Sepi^iicadiVeneaia Vuneiia, 1856 
Tentori, EaccoUa di- DoaivietUi milla RiTolusimie delta 
EepMita di Veiiasia Augiiata, 1799 

CoserrrmoN A l — 

Baacliet, Hiitoire dt la Chancslten* Strrite Paris, 1870 

Giannotti, Libra delta Reppublica de' Viniaiani a. Open 

Firenie, 1860 
Contarini, Delia ReptMiea et MaijiitTuti di Venetia 

Yenutio, I5S1 
Crasao, De Forma Reiyvhlieie Vcnetm {The». Ant. Hal., v.) 

Lug., 1722 
De In HoussBje, if MtoirefZu GoutiememCTi/rfeFtnuie Paris, 1B77 
Alletz, Djxo-u/n mir la PuiiMnce et la Ruiiit de la Ri^Uique 
de Vmise Paria, 1842 

San DiJier, La Vilk el la JUpiiblvpu de Venim Paris, 1680 
Stella, II Servixio di Caia nelC Anti^a R^iilica Veneta 

Venezia, 1800 
Cecchetti, It Doge di Veju!;da Venezia, 1864 

a drt Commereiu de' I'cnejMiiii 

Vinegin, 1798 
Heyd, Le Colonnie Commerciali degli Italiani in Oria'te, tr. 

Venezia, 1866 
Hejd, Gesehichte da LcvanUhandeh ira MxtUUtller 

Stuttgart, 1879 
SitnonHfeld, Dtr Fondaeo dei Ted«»ehi Stuttgart, 1887 

Mutinelli, Del Cmimutrcio dr! Veaesiaai Venezia, 1835 

Fonnaleani, SCorwi ddla Naviyazioae lul Mar Nero 

Venedn, 1788 
ThomttB, Vayitidar den DeiUnclien Haatee in Vnudu/ 

Berlin, 1S74 

Abtibtic and Literary — 

Foecai'ini, Delia Letteratura Venesiatia Paduii, 1752 

Simonsfeld, Andrea* Dandolo vnd Mine Geschiehtmcerke 

Mtinchen 1876 


Artistic and Literary — vols. 

Simonsfeld, Venetianische Studien Miinchen, 1878 

Yriarte, Venise Paris, 1878 

RuskiD, Stones of Venice London, 1873 3 

Crowe and Cavalcaselle, TtzianOy la sua Vita e i sum Tempi 

Firenze, 1872 2 
Cattaneo, VArchitettura in Italia Venezia, 1889 

Ongania (Editor), La Basilica di San Marco Venezia, 1877 
Didot, Aide Manuce Paris, 1876 

Castellani, La Stampa in Venezia alia Morte di Aldo 
Manuzio Seniore Venezia, 1889 

Symonds, Renaissance in Italff — The Fine Arts London, 1877 
Brown, The Venetian Printing Press London, 1891 

Social — 

San Didier, La Ville et la RSpvJblique de Venise Paris, 1680 
Yriarte, La Vie d^un Patricien de Venise Paris, 

Molmenti, La Storia di Venezia nella Vita Privaia 

Torino, 1880 
Molmenti, La Dogaressa Torino, 1884 

Molmenti, Studi e Ricerche Torino, 1892 

Orford, Leggi e Memorie Venete suUa Prostituzione 

Venezia, 1870 

Cecchetti, La Vita d^ Veneziani nel 300 Venezia, 1886 

Piozzi, Glimpses of Italian Society in the Eighteenth Century 

(edit. Martinengo Cesaresco) London, 1892 

Morpurgo, Marco Foscarini e Venezia nel Secolo XVIII. 

Firenze, 1880 
Ammazzamento di Lorenzino d^ Medici Milano, 1886 

Boumet, Venise Paris, 1882 

Cenni Storki e le Leggi circa il Lihertinaggio in Venezia 

Venezia, 1886 1 
Brosses, Lettres Paris, 1858 2 

lernoui, Canti, Fiabe^ Leggende credenze popolari 

Venezia, 1872-1874 


Eoclesiasticai. — 

Sarpi, Opere Helmstat (Verona), 1761 8 
Cecchetti, La Repuhlica di Venezia e La Gorte di Roma 

Venezia, 1874 2 

Comaro, EcclesioB Venetce et Torcellance Venetiis, 1749 18 

Bianchi Giovini, Biografia di Fra Paolo Sarpi Zurigo, 1836 2 

Cappelletti, I GesuUi e la RepMicadi Venezia Venezia, 1873 1 

Topographical — 

Pliny, Historia Natnralisy lib. iii. 
Strabo, Geographical lib. v. 

Constantine, De Ad/ministrando Imperio, ap. Corp. Scrip, Hist. 
Byzant. Bonn, 1890 


Topographical — vols. 

Sanflovino, Venezui, dttd, NohiUmma e Singolare 

Venetia, 1663 1 
Temanza, Antica Pianta deU InclUa Oittd di Venezia 

Venezia, 1781 1 
Coronelli, Isole di VeneziOj in vol. i. of Coronelli's Isolario 
Sabadino, Maps of Venetia in the Cdlezione di Carte 

Geografiche del Sec XVI, Marcian Library 1 

Tassini, Alcuni Palazzi Venezia, 1879 1 

Taseini, Curiositd, Veneziane Venezia, 1863 1 


Tkysica! fonturea of tlio VeDuti»it lagoon — The twelve lagoou totmshijiE— 
The lagoon popuUtion— Til e official date of the foundatinij of Venioe— 
The Padiian Coiisuls— The invaaioii of AttUa— The otection of Tribunes— 
Catue of this clectioii^NsturB of Trihcmes' power— Tlie advent of the 
Kaet — BelisariiiH in Italy- Hia siege of Ravenna — Naraea in Italy— The 
Padoaiis appeal to him — The Lombard invasioii — Inducra the mnin- 
landera to settle finally in the lagooa— Legends of the fliglit from the 
mUDliind : their meaning— Condition of the earliest lagoon population — 
Early uhorches, San Jacopo di Rialto, S. Theodore, S. GMniniano — The 
rained mainland cities rumiah material — Bouses — Casaiodorns's letter to 
the Tribunos — Thr growth of population produces a revision of the con- 
stitntioD — Longinua in Italy — The Venetians assert their indciwiideoce 
— The first Imperial diploma — Relations with the Lombarda ; and with 
tho Eastern Eroi>ira— The dangers to which Venice was eiposed— Internal 
jealousy — Election of a doge, Paolo tMCio Aaafcalo, 

• 18 unlikely that the physical aspects of the Venetian 
SStnary have changed very much between the unknown 
period at which it received its first fisher population and the 
present day. The lagoons of Venice are a large sheet of salt 
water, in form like a bent bow, the curve of the bow follow- 
ing the line of the mainland, while the string is represented 
by a number of long, low, narrow islands, called Lidi, partly 
mud and partly sand, which are the most important char- 
acteristic of their formation. Tlie Lidi, serve as a haiTier 
Rvhich prevents the sea from sweeping over the lagoona, and 
make it possible for man to build upon the island mud- 
lanks ; but they do not separate the basin thus created 
oitirely from tho sea, they do not convert the lagoons into 
i lake ; for the I.idi are pierced at several points by open- 
togs, which admit the tide from the Adriatic, and give egresa 


and ingress to the inhabitants. At certain points inside the 
lagoon, where the muddy bottom is more solid, small islands, 
formed partly by nature and partly by man, rise above the 
water-level. At first these islands were nothing more than 
barren banks of clay or mud ; yet it was upon such dubious 
foundations that the hardy fishermen of the estuary were 
destined to raise one of the most powerful and most beautiful 
cities that the world has ever seen. 

Though it is unlikely that the lagoons have altered 
very much within the period of their known history, it is 
probable that their surface was at one time of greater ex- 
tent, that more of the mainland was under water than at 
present. For the twelve island-townships, enumerated in the 
chronicle of John the Deacon (Sagomino), one of the oldest 
Venetian chronicles which we possess, can all be identified to 
this day, though some of them are no longer, strictly speaking, 
cities of the lagoon. These twelve townships play such an 
important part in the early history of Venice, and we shall have 
to refer so frequently to most of them, that it 'vvdll be as well 
here to give their names ; they are Grado, Bibiones, Caprula3 
(Caorle), Heraclea, Jesolo (Cavallino),Torcello, Murano, Eialto, 
Metamaucus (Malamocco), Pupillia (Poveglia), Clugies Minor, 
destroyed in the Genoese war, and Clugies Major (Chioggia). 
The chronicler adds that there are besides these qxvaTwplwrimct 
inmlm habitahiles, very many more habitable islands. The 
account of the Venetian district generally, which we can 
gather from Livy and Strabo, shows physical conditions and 
habits of life similar to those which exist to-day. "The 
whole region," says Strabo, speaking of the country between 
the Julian Alps and the Adriatic, " abounds in swamps and 
rivers, and is partially covered by the sea. That is the only 
portion which is afiected by tides like the ocean, and there 
the larger part of the plain is transformed into a salt-water 
marsh. As in lower Egypt, the water is directed hither 
and thither by ditches and dykes. Some of the island- 
cities are completely surrounded by water, others are 
washed on certain sides only." " All commerce is carried 
on by boats ; and these boats are built with flat bottoms, to 
enable them to pass over the shoals." 


It is clear from these passages that the shores of the 
estuary were already inhabited at the beginning of the 
Christian era. Upon this point Martial's famous lines in 

1% of the villas at Venetian Altino, compaiing them ■with 
the villas of Neapolitan Baiae, leave no doubt. Whether 
the lagoon-islands were also peopled, is not so certain, but 
there is reasonable presumption that they were. The 
direct route between corn-growing Pannonia and Eome, lay 
ttirough Aq^uileia to Eavenna by the waters of Venice ; 
and those intricate channels must have requii'ed pilots who 
could only have been lagoon-dwellers, intimately acquainted 
'With the region in which they were bom and bred. 

Bnt though the islands of the estuary were probably in- 
habited, it is not to be supposed that their population was 
large, or in any sense independent. The lagoons were under 
the jurisdiction of the great Roman cities on the mainland, 
Aquileia, Opitergiitm (Oderzo), and Padua. It is not till 
ue reach the period of barbarian invasion that we can begin 
to reckon the separate history of Venice, Those repeated 
iucnisiODS of the hungry hordes from beyond the Alps had 
a double action on the development of the lagoons : first, 
tiiey drove the mainlanders for refuge to the islands ; and, 
secondly, they gradually weakened, and then destroyed, the 
great mainland cities, and thereby left the island population 
virtually independent, though still bearing the impress of 
the Boman civilisation which characterised the cities from 
which it drew its origin. 

But this process of disintegration on the mainland and 
of regerminatioii in the lagoons, was a slow one. The 
various peoples drawn from the cities of the continent, who, 
under stress of danger, were to be eventually fused into the 
state which we call Venice, did not emigrate to the lagoon- 
islands suddenly. As each wave of liarbarian invasion 
passed over North-eastern Italy and rolled away southward, 
or was repulsed beyond the Alps, the refugees from the 
mainland returned to their homes from their temporary 
asylum in the lagoon. Neither the invasion of the Mar- 
comanni and Quadi in 170, nor that of the Goths in 378, nor 
that of Alaric in 400, was sufBcient to convince the fugitives 



that their ouly sure dwelling was upon the impenetrable 
waters of the Venetian estuary. Some deposit of popula- 
tion, some residue of each of those emigrations, no doubt 
remained behind in the lagoon -islands, and helped to 
prepare the way for the final acceptance of their water- 
home by the mainlanders; but the majority, with that 
persistent love of the hearthstone, continued to rebuild 
their shattered houses and temples after each incursion, 
living in the incoiTigible hope that the last would really 
be the last. Two more terrible invasions, the invasion of 
the Huns and the invasion of the Lombards, were re- 
quired before the lesson was completely learned, and 
the refugees settled down finally on those barren mud- 
banks which they w^re destined to make so famous in 

The Venetian official account always assigned the 25th 
of March 421 as the day on which Venice was 
born. Such precision is both misleading and 
futile. But it is based upon a document well known to 
Venetian historians, the famous commission of the three 
Consuls who were sent from Padua to superintend the 
building of a city at Eialto, where they might concentrate 
the population and the conmierce of the lagoons. " On the 
25th of March, about mid-day, was the foundation-stone 
laid." There is little doubt that the document, as we have 
it, is a forgery ; though it is highly probable that its sub- 
stance is true to fact; and if it cannot be taken as estab- 
lishing tlie date of the foundation of Venice, it is instnictive 
for various reasons. It shows us that the lagoon-islands 
were inhabited, and that one of them, Eialto, lay on the 
course of the river lirenta througli the estuary, and really 
commanded the sea-trade of I^adua. It further shows that 
the Paduans wished to establish a commercial centre at 
Eialto, i)artly for safety, partly for convenience of tmffic ; 
and, finally, it proves that the lagoons around Eialto, the 
lagoons througli which the Brenta passed, were at that 
time under the control of Padua ; a fact which the people 
of Venice strenuously denied when they became stronger 
than the Paduans. 


It is the year 452, however, whicli lias geuerally been 
i the birth-date of Venice. Tliat is the 


year of Attila'a invasion, in which Aqnileia fell, 
and the North Italian cities, Altino, Concordia, Opiter- 
gintn, Padua, were sacked by the Huns, Although the 
year 452 has 00 more claim tlian the year 421 to be 
reckoned as the precise date for the foimdation of Venice, 
yet it undoubtedly marks the first great point in the 
development of the lagoon population into a aejiarate state. 
For the Hunnish invasion, with its ruthless barbarity and 
its merciless destruction of the mainland cities, did more 
than any of its predecessors to people the islands of the 
estuary, and also had a stronger effect than any otlier 
barbtirian incursion in convincing the mainlanders that they 
would be wise to remain in the lagoons. 

The result of Attila's invasion was demonstrated four- 
teen years later, in 460, when the island-townships took the 
first step indicative of their independence, and laid 
the foundation of Venetian constitutional history by 
calling an assembly at Grado, and electing officers, with the 
title of Tribunes, to govern the affairs of each island. The 
important aspect of this election is, that here, for the first 
the lagoon communities act independently. There is no 
question of their receiving magistrates from Padua, from 
Oderzo, or from Aqnileia ; the lagoon population proceeds 
to elect its own magistrates. And so, if any precise 
date is to be indicated as the commencement of Venetian 
history, none would have a better claim than this of 466, 
the year in which the inhabitants of the lagoon chose tlieir 
first officers for themselves. 

But this election of Tribunes at Grado is not merely 
a proof that the domination of the mainland over the 
estuary was declining, that the population of the islands 
iraa increasing in numbers and in power ; it is also a sign 
flf internal activity on the part of the lagoon-dwellers and 
the beginning of a movement whose course we shall have 
to trace till it leads ns to the next great step in Venetian 
history, the creation of the first Doge, For with the in- 
of population came rivalries and jealousies among 



the neighbouring townships. Whatever hatred and enmity 
had e.xisted between the great cities of the main- 
land, were intensified now that their fugitive popu- 
lations were confined, side by side, in the narrow circum- 
ference of the lagoons. Municipal rivalry on the mainland led 
to brawling and violence among the refugees of the estuary ; 
and the meeting at Grado, which elected the Tribunes, 
was rendered necessary chiefly by the desire which the 
people had to put an ut&cial restraint upon their political 
passions. This political ant^onism between the com- 
ponent parts of the lagoon population, is the most im- \ 
portant factor in the early development of the Venetian 
state. It had to be absorbed and eliminated before Venice J 
could be considered as a political unit. The creation of the | 
Tribunes was the first step towards such a solution. 

The paucity and nie^reuess of the authorities for this 1 
obscure period of Venetian history, render it difficult toj 
define the nature and powers of the Tribunate. In all ^ 
probability it was an office borrowed from the Roman 4 
Municipal Government of the mainland cities ; that is to J 
say, in its first intention it vras a military office, but snb*9 
sequeutly, as sometimes happened, implying civil fnnctioiM 
as well Wliatever may have been the precise powers o 
the Tribunes in the lagoon, or Triimni marittimi, i 
were called, it is certain that, from the date of their creatioQ, ^ 
they were the chief magistrates among the. island popula- j 
tion ; and we shall presently find the Pretorian prefect, I 
Cassiodorus, applying to the maritime Tribunes when be I 
wished to secure the assistance of Venetians for the tranft- | 
port of oil and wine from Istria. 

The horrors of the Huunish invasion, however, were nofe.l 
suEEicient to induce the mainlanders to remain permanentl7^■ 
in the lagoons after the storm was over. It was difKculfcM 
for the refugees, who were largely agriculturists, to ac 
themselves to the new conditions of life on the wal 
where fishing was the principal source of livelihood, 
where they, doubtless, missed the luxury of their mainlai 
towns. They returned in large unmbers to their i 


The faU of Eome, in 476, bad little effect on the 
, Venetian provinces ; and the Venetians, under tiie 
excellent rule of Theodoric, enjoyed a tranquillity 
which enabled those refugees who had remained in the 
lagoon to become acqiniiuted with their new home, and in- 
dulged those refugees who had returned to the mainland, in 
the belief that they would not be disturbed again. 

The death of Theodoric and the regency of Araalasunta 
tempted the Eastern Emperor to contemplate the conquest 
of the Italian peninsula. Justinian, with that object in 
view, seot Belisarius to Italy in 535. The war 
spread over the whole of the northern provinces, 
and was carried on with great barbarity. The result was 
that the lagoon-islands again became an asylum from the 
horrors of the mainland. 

Belisarius moved northward, and eventually arrived 
before Ravenna, to which he laid siege. And here, for the 
first time, we iind the Venetians of the lagoons recognised 
as an important body, and called upon to take a part in 
the general movement of history. For Belisarius, 
while engaged in this siege, sent Vitalius to secure 
the assistance of the maritime Venetians, whose ports would 
aerve to harbour auy Greek ships winch might come from 
Constantinople to reinforce his army ; and also to beg the 
Venetians to support biin with tlien- light boats in complet- 
ing the blockade of liavenna, and in conveying provisions 
for his troops, Eavenna fell, and with it the Gothic kingdom 
in Italy came to an end. The Eastern Emperors remained 
masters of the peninsula. 

The siege cud capture of Eavenna is of moment in the 
history of Venice. It not only proves that the lagoon- 
dwellers were gixjwing in power and importance; that their 
fleet ^f light boats was worth the attention of the Imperial 
general ; that their harboiu^ might, under certain condi- 
tions, prove of great value to the belligereut who held them ; 
but more than all this, the establishment of the Eastern Em- 
pire iu Italy, which resulted from this siege, was an event 
prime value in the internal history of the lagoon, and 
had a decided bearing upon the evolution of the Venetian 


State. For, as we shall soon have occasion to note, the 
question presently arose as to the exact relation of 
Venice to Constantinople ; were the lagoons to be 
considered a part of the Eastern Empire or were they inde- 
pendent? In short, one of the claimants to supremacy, 
whose aggression Venice was compelled to withstand if she 
were ever to achieve independence, had now appeared on 
the scene. The other claimant did not emerge till thirty 
years later, when Alboin and his Lombards poured down 
upon Italy. 

After the fall of Eavenna, Belisarius was recalled by 
the jealousy of the Emperor. But before long, his services 
were again required to suppress a rising of the Goths 
under Totila. Belisarius came insufficiently supplied with 
men and money. His campaign proved a failure. He 
was disgraced and superseded by Narses, the eunuch. 
Narses massed his troops at Salona, near Spalato, on 
the Dalmatian coast He wished to reach Eavenna; but 
he was deficient in transport ships; he accordingly aban- 
doned the sea route. The interior mainland route was 
blocked by the Franks, a collision with whom he desired to 
avoid. Narses, therefore, determined to follow the coast 
route, which had been left open in the belief that it was 
impracticable for an army. This choice led the Imperial 
general to the shore of the lagoons, at Grado, where he and 
his troops embarked on board Venetian transports, and were 
conveyed to Brondolo, at the south-eastern corner of the 
estuary, and thence to Eavenna. Narses was eventually 
victorious, and assumed the 'government of Italy, with 
the title of Duke. His conduct awakened suspicion at 
Constantinople. He was threatened with recall, and was 
presently superseded by Longinus, but not before he had 
invited the Lombards, many of whom had served under 
liim, to bring their whole race sweeping down on Italy, 
thereby avenging what he held to be his unjust treatment 
by the Imperial Court. 

The importance of Narses*s campaign in the liistory 
of Venice lies in this, that the general passed through 
the lagoons, and, as he himself reported to his successor. 

Longiiius, was amazed at tlie vigour and prosperity of their 
inhabitants. Proof of this power is to be found 
not only in tlie fact that the Venetians were 
ei^ual to the task of transporting Narses's army across 
their waters, but it is even more strikingly illustrated by 
an appeal which the Paduans made to tlie Imperial 
generaL The ambassadors of the mainland city com- 
plained that the Venetians of the lagoon had not^ only 
absorbed all the navigation on the rivers Brenta and 
Baochiglione, but had made themselves masters of the 
mouths of the two streams, and had fortified them with a view 
to preventing any but Venetians from using those waters. 
The Paduans implored Narses to reinstate them in their 
ancient rights. The Veuetiau reply shows their deter- 
mination to be free. It is based upon the right of the 
creator to his creation. It was they who had made the 
lagoon - islands inhabitable, the lagoon - canals navigable, 
the place an asylum for the mainlanders in time of 
trouble. The islands belonged to those who had always 
lived on them, the waters to those who knew how to 
defend them. That Naraes did not give judgment in the 
case, but contented himself vrith uiging both parties to 
reconciliation, shows his conviction that the lagoon-dwellers 
had the power, and the will, to keep what they had acquired, 
in spite of any decision on his part. 

The year 568 is the second great landmark in the early 
history of the lagoons ; in that year Alboin and his 
Lombards invaded Italy from Paunonia, The 
mainland north of Venice was put to fire and 
sword. Once again the inhabitants of the ruined cities 
sought refuge in the estuary. Tliis time they resolved to 
remain there. Partly, they were at last convinced that 
the mainland was no longer safe for them ; pai-tly, too, the 
lagoon-isiands presented a less forbidding aspect than on 
the many previous occasions when they had offered an 
asylum to the fugitives. The population had increased, 
bouses had been built, some semblance of a settled govern- 
ment now existed. There were fewer reasons why the 
refugees should return to their ancient homes. What 





Attila began, Alboin completed. Venetian history is the 
history of the people who, under stress of repeated 
invasion between the years 452 and 568, were 
thus gathered together in the lagoons. 

The chronicles detail at length the legend of this last 
flight from the mainland, and chiefly how the people of 
Altino came to settle at Torcello. The Lombards, "those 
cruellest of pagans," were sweeping down upon Friuli, and 
the people of Altino resolved to fly. Some went to 
Eavenna, some to Istria, some to the Pentapolis; some, 
however, remained behind, in sore doubt whither they 
should turn to seek a home. These people made a three 
days' fast and prayer to God that He would show them where 
they might find a dwelling-place. Then a voice was heard, 
as though in thunder, saying to them, " Climb ye up to the 
tower and look at the stars." Then the Bishop Paul 
climbed the tower, and looking up to the heavens, he saw 
the stars arranged as it were like islands in the lagoon. 
Thus guided, the people of Altino moved to Torcello, 
leaving their home to be burned by the Lombards when 
they found it empty. Tlie fugitives called their new abode 
Torcello, in memory of many-towered Altino, which they had 
left behind. Their first care was to build a church to the 
honour of Mary, the Virgin. It was beautiful in form, and 
very fair; its pavement was made in circles of precious 
marbles. Then to Mauro, the priest, who was also from 
Altino, were shown by miracle the places where other 
churclies should be built. " First," he says, " Saint Eras- 
mus and Saint Hermes showed me the plan of a church to 
be raised to tliem. Then, as I was walking along another 
lido, I saw a wonderful siglit : a large white cloud, and out 
of it issued two rays of the sun, of a glorious clarity, which 
fell upon me ; and a liquid voice said to me, ' I am the 
Saviour and Lord of all the earth. The ground whereon 
thou standest I give to tliee, thereon to build a church in 
My name.* Then came another most delicious voice which 
said, ' I am Marj', mother of the Lord Jesus Christ ; I bid 
you build another church to me.* Tlien I came to a third 
lido, and I saw the whole place filled with a diverse 


multitude of people, and iiiauy bulls aini cows, with calves. 
And when I drew near, lo ! an old man sitting on the 
ground, and he spoke to me, while nigh unto him stood 
a younger man. The old man said unto me, ' I am Peter, 
prince and apostle, the pastor of the flock. I charge you 
honour me, and build me a church that there, on my 
nativity, all the people of Torcello may gather together.' 
Then the younger said unto me, ' I am the ser^-ant of God, 
Antolinus, I aoffered for the name of Christ ; I bid you 
build a little church for me, hard by the Master's church. 
Be instant day and night in niemory of me ; and whatso- 
ever you ask of me shall be given unto you.' Then I eame 
to a fourth little lido, and I saw that it was all full of 
heavy-clustered vineyards ; and the vines bore the whitest 
grapes. There came upon me the desire to eat, but I 
did not ; and as I walked by the sea a white cloud 
appeared unto me ; in the middle thereof was seated a little 
maid, fair of form, who spoke to me thus, ' I am Giustina, 
who suffered in Padua city for Christ's sake; I beg you, priest 
of God, build me a little cliurcli in my honour." In the fifth 
place I came to, I met a girl of tender years, A great and 
splendid cloud, as though it were the sun, Olumined her, 
and it drew nigh unto me. Then I looked within and saw 
a glorious man of noble mien, standing above the sphere of 
the sun, and he said unto me, ' I am John the Baptist, the 
forerunner of our Lord ; I beg thee in this place build me 
the church I now show thee.' Then he showed me all the 
outside of the church, and gave me the blessing of God on 
my bishopric of Torcello, and encircled me with the ring, 
which he placed upon my finger. Then I awoke from the 
great sleep. The writing was found in my hand, the ring 
upon my finger." 

Under the quaint imagery of this apocalyptic vision 
voudisafed to Mauro, priest of Torcello, we can discover 
two great facts which were the outcome of the Lombard 
invasion. The people of the lagoons, newcomers as well 
as old, turn their attention to building, and thereby prove 
their determination to take up their abode in the lagoons. 
Their first care and greatest efforts were bestowed upon 


their churches, which sprang up not only on Torcello, but 
upon many other islands of the estuary, some of which, 
as for example the island of vineyards — le vignole — 
and St. Erasmo, can be distinguished in the vision of priest 
Mauro. The second point is that the Lombard invasion 
gave the lagoon-dwellers a free and independent priesthood 
of their own. The church moved along with the people 
from the mainland to the lagoons. The Bishop of Altino led 
his flock to Torcello ; the Bishop of Padua moved to 
llalamocco ; the Bishop of Oderzo to Heraclea ; the Bishop 
of Concordia to Caorle. And just as the refugees resolved 
to remain in the lagoons, so the bishops declined to return to 
their sees, which were now in the hands of Arian Lombards. 
^Vt the period about which we are writing, the resignation 
of the church to exile in the lagoons was hardly less 
important tlian the resolution of the refugees to remain in 
their asylum. 

As the Lombard invasion was the cause of the last 
great influx of fugitives from the mainland, and as the 
original population out of which Venice subsequently grew 
may be considered as completed at this epoch, it will not 
be inopportune to pause here a moment, and to endeavour, 
as far as our scanty material will allow us, to realise the 
physical and social conditions at which the Venetians had 

The peopling of the lagoon produced, as we have 
already indicated, a great activity in church-building. As 
early as 421, the date of the reputed appointment of 
consuls from Padua, we hear that the first church of the 
lagoon, San Jacopo di Eialto, was built after a great 
fire had destroyed many of the wooden houses which 
covered that island. The church occupied the site of a 
shipbuilder's yard, where the fire broke out. Later still, 
about the year 552, Narses, while on his way through the 
lagoons, vowed to build two churches, one to S. Theodore and 
one to S. Geminiano, if victorious against the Goths. He was 
victorious, and lie kept his vow. He built the Church of 
S. Theodore, on part of the site now occupied by S. Mark's, 
and the Churcli of S. Geminiano, which no longer exists. This 



he adorned with columns aiid preeioiia stones ; the cupola he 
caused to he decorated with inscriptions in honour of 
himself and of the Bishop of Ohvolo, in whose time 
the church was founded. The columns of marble and the 
precious stones which figure so largely in the accounts of 
these earliest Venetian churches, came, no doubt, from the 
older buildings of the mainland, which, when deserted by 
their inhabitants, served as quarries for the growing cities 
of the lagoon. 

The houses of these early lagoon-dwellers appear to 
have been, for the most part, of one story only. On the 
ground-floor was an open courtyard and staircase mounting 
to the first tifjor, where were the dwelling and sleeping rooms. 
On the roof was an open loggia, used for drying clothes, called 
liago (from hdmcmi, solarinvi). The ground upon which 
these houses were built was made solid, and protected 
against the corrosion of the water, by posts driven into 
the mud at intervals, and bound together by wattle-work. 
Between the houses and the water ran a narrow strip of 
land, a sort of footway, called then as now a fondarntnta. 
Cassiodorus, secretary to Theodoric the Great, in his famous 
letter to the maritime Tribunes, becomes so enthusiastic 
upon the subject of Venice as he knew it, that he forgets 
the immediate subject of his communication, and bursts into 
a description of Venice to the Venetians. " There lie your 
booses," he says, " built like sea-birds' nests, half on sea and 
half on land, or, as it were, like the Cyclades spread over 
the surface of the water; made not by Nature but created 
by the industry of man. For the solidity of the earth is 
secured only by wattle-work ; and yet you fear not to place 
so frail a barrier between yourselves and the sea. Your 
inhabitants have fish in abundance. There is no distinction 
between rich and poor ; the same food for all ; the houses 
all alike ; and so envy, that vice which rules the world, is 
absent there. All your activity is devoted to the salt-works, 
whence comes your wealth. Upon your industry all other 
productions depend ; for there may be those who seek not 
gold, but there never yet lived the man who desires not salt. 
Ftom your gains you repair your boats which, like horses. 





you keep tied up at your house doors." So an able aud 
observant contemporary describes tlie condition of 
the early Venetians. Fishing was the means of liveli- 
hood, salt the industry, democratic equality the social note, 
of these primitive lagoon-dwellers. 

Other demonstrations of the growth of Venice are to be 
found in the internal history of the lagoons, where the pro- 
cess of political condensation was steadily advancing. The 
democratic government by Tribunes elected from among the 
inhabitants of each island, was established in 4G6 ; but the 
increase of population caused by the Ijombard invasion, and 
by the resolve of the refugees to remain in the lagooiis, in- 
duced the Venetians to extend the nature of their Tribuml 
constitution, A revision of the existing government 
took place. " The islaml people, seeing that the ^ *" 
islands grew more and more populous every day, resolved 
to create a second Tribune for each of the twelve 
communities, in addition to the one already in existence." 
These new Tribunes were superior to the older lYibunes, 
and were called Tribuni ^fajores. When they addressed 
letters, they used tliis style, " We, the Tribunes of the 
maritime islands, appointed by the whole body of them." 
This episode seems to indicate the creation of a sort of 
central committee ; the original Tribune elected by each 
island for itself, was left to the administration of that island's 
affairs ; but the whole body of lagoon-dwellers now elected 
twelve other Tribunes, one from each island, to manage the 
common concerns of the entire lagoon. 

It is only after the changes produced by the Lombard 
invasion that we meet with the Venetians as a formed and 
completed people, ready now to run their race through the 
centuries. Down to the year 568 the history of Venice had 
been the history of the various stages by winch the lagoons 
acquired their population, and received that distinct group of 
people whom we call Venetians. After 568 the Venetians 
were made. They became conscious of themselves as fl 
unit, and soon gave proof of their consciousness. 

Longinus, as we liave seen, was sent as exarch, to super- 
sede Karses, the eunuch. He found himself opposed to the 



new barbarian invasion of the Lombanb. He endeavoured 
to treat rliplomatically with Alboin, urging him to 
make a formal aiibmisaion to the Eastern Emperor, 
but without success. Before quitting Italy for Constantinople, 
Longiuus desired to secure the allegiance and co-operatiou 
of the Venetians, whose growing power rendered them 
valuable allies against the barbarian floods on the main- 
land. He went to Venice, and was received with great 
acclaim by the people, to " the sound of bells, and flutes, 
and cj'tberns, and other instruments, so that you could not 
have heard the thunder of heaven," says the chronicler, 
Lnnginus begged the Venetians to convey him to Con- 
stantinople, which they promised to do. But their answer 
to his demand tliat they should declare themselves subjects 
of the Eastern Empire, shows that the inhabitants of the 
lagoons had a very clear conception of their practical 
independence, and a vigorous resolve to maintain it. They 
afSrm to Longiuus, as they had already affirmed to Narses, 
that they themselves had made the lagoon-ialands ; that 
they had withstood the incursions of Attila, the Eruli, the 
Goths, and the Lombards, " And God, who is our help and 
protection, lias saved us in order that we may dwell upon 
these watery marshes. This second Venice, which we have 
raised in the lagoons, is a mighty habitation for na. No 
power of Emperor or Prince can reach us save by the sea 
alone, and of them we have no fear." The note which runs 
througl) the whole speech bears the conviction of the intimate 
relation between the people and the place, the islands which 
they had made, and the waters which rendered them impreg- 
nable. Longinus, in his rejoinder, practically admits their claim. 
" Truly," be says, " as I heard fram others, so I found ye ; 
a great people with a mighty habitation. Dwelling in tiiis 
security, you have to fear uo Emperor, nor no Prince. But 
I say unto you that, if ye will obey the Emperor, I will beg 
him to grant any petition you may make unto him." And 
forttier to facilitate a formal act of submission, Longinus 
declared that he would not exact it on oath. Thereupon 
the Venetians consented. An embassy from Venice accom- 
panied Longinus to the Imperial Court, where it was well 



received, and secured the first diploma granted to the Venetian 
people as a separate body. 

But it was not possible that Venice should remain ^ 
in diplomatic relations with the East alone. She found her- 
self mevitably brought into contact with the power which 
possessed the mainland of Italy. As the Lombards gradually 
consolidated their sway, the Venetians were obliged to enter 
into relations with them also, for the purposes of commerce. 
And so we find the new-bom state of Venice, eager for her 
own liberty, determined to acliieve complete independence, 
placed in a middle position between the >!!astem Empire and 
the kingdom of Italy, both of which claimed a suzerainty, 
and to both of which Venice made formal acknowledgment 
of such superiority. 

It is the difficulties and dangers of this position which 
animate and govern the history of Venice during the 
next two hundred and thirty years; forcing her to 
struggle for her very life, and thereby training her to a 
knowledge of her own strength. Tlie superiority of the East 
or of the West was never at any time a superiority dc facto ; 
the lagoons were never held by Eastern Emperor or Western 
Kinjx ; but the claim of each was ever present as a standing 
threat to Venetian liberty. AVhat the Venetians desired was 
commercial privileges and protection from both East and West; 
what they dreaded was absorption into the empire or the 
kingdom. The famous question of the original independence 
of Venice may, we think, be resolved thus : the lagoons and 
their inhabitants were first of all dependent on the cities of 
the mainland. Those bonds became loosened, and finally 
disappeared under the ruin wrought by barbarian invasions. 
The lagoon-dwellers then elected their own magistrates and 
were virtually independent. Their commercial enterprise and 
their geographical position, however, brought them into 
prominence again, and they were forced to seek a protect- 
orate from the East and from the West, with the result that 
the question of suzerainty was raised onco more, and grew 
in importance as Venice became more and more powerful. 
Fortunately for the Venetians, it was only at rare inter\'als 
that they were prominent enough to attract the serious 

5S4. ■ 


attention of the Imperial Court. Tor the most part, in the 
great mass of the Roman Empire, that little comer 
of the lagoona escaped entirely unnoticed ; and this 
happy insignificance allowed the Venetians slowly to become 
ft nation apart. 

No sooner had Venice acquired the amount of coher- 
ence and force which we have endeavoured to represent as 
accruing from the various barbarian invasions, than she was 
instantly compelled to struggle for her very existence. She 
to two kinds of danger, one internal, the otlier 
external. The people of Venice had hitherto encountered a 
hard fight with nature in the course of their endeavour to 
■convert their compulsory asylum iuto a habitable dwelling. 
They were now to affi-ont as grave difficulties in their effort 
to exist as a State. Venice overcame both difficulties ; 
and in the process she acquired that vigour which kept her 
alive for so many centuries. 

Externally the Venetians had to contend with two 
serious foes, one by sea, the other by land. The Sclav popu- 
lation along the banks of the Danube and the Save, obeying 
one of those migratory impulses which were then so 
common, descended upon the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic. 
The broken nature of that sliore, its many islands, its 
gulfs and difficult navigation, seemed almost to suggest 
to the newcomers the line o£ life they ought to pursue. 
They became pirates, as most inhabitants of that coast had 
been before tliem, and pirates they remained, a constant 
Boorce of trouble to Venice for centuries. On the main- 
land, too, the Lombard Dukes of Friuli were continually 
harassing the lagoon-dwellers, attacking and pillaging cities 
like Grado, on the borders of the lagoon, though they never 
succeeded in penetrating the lagoon itself. These attacks, 
by sea and by land, compelled the Venetians to fortify the 
mouths of their ports, and to build towers of refuge at 
various points along the lagoon shore. But more than this, 
they trained the Venetians to the use of arms. The growing 
State soon ceased to be content with merely defending itself; it 
began to make reprisals, through incursions on the mainland, 
and by skirmishes at sea with the Dalmatian pirates; and thus 




the people became more and more iutimate with the waters 
on which they lived, and laid the foundation of that 
naval supremacy which they afterwards acquired. 

Inside the lagoons the tribunician constitution, esteb- 
lisbed in 466, and revised about 584, continued to exist 
But the rapid growth and the great activity of the youthful 
State, tended to emphasise those rivalries and jealousies 
between island and island which were their ancient heritage 
from the mainland cities whence they had drawn their 
population. The development of this internal struggle is 
not recorded ; but the crisis was reached when Girislopher, 
Patriarch of Grado, found it necessary to call a general 
assembly of the lagoon people at Heraclea, He pointed out 
to them that these internal jealousies were imperilling their 
very life and liberty, by rendering the community weak in 
the face of enemies. He proposed as a remedy that the 
Venetians should choose one man as head of the State, 
instead of twelve as heretofore. This advice was 
accepted, and, in 697, the Venetians elected Paolo 
Lucio Anafesto as their first Doge. 

The example of Piome, Genoa, and Naples, at that time 
governed by Dukes, no doubt influenced the Venetians in 
the choice of the title which they bestowed upon the new 
chief of the State. Tlie objects for which the Dukedom was 
created, the defence of the lagoons against external foes, and 
the appeasement of iiiterual jealousies, were so obvious to 
the people at the time of election, that it did not occur to 
them to define precisely the position, the powers, the digni- 
ties which should belong to the supreme magistrate. It is only 
in the course of years and by the slow process of evolution 
that the ducal position became fixed. In its origin the 
Dukedom was a democratic, or at least a constitutional 
magistracy. But its real chai-acter altered with the qualities 
of the individual who occupied the ducal chair. If a man 
of strong personality, the Doge endeavoured to render himself 
absolute, his office dynastic; if weak, he was the slave of 
faction. A laige part of early Venetian liistoiy is con- 
cerned with the problem of the Doge, with the endeavour to 
curb and circumscribe his power. 


Some attributes of the ducal position, however, would 
seem to have been defined at once. The Tribunes were 
preserved, but as subordinate magistrates, appointed 
by the Doge, who could punish or remove them. The Doge 
had the right of summoning the Concio, or General Assembly ; 
he also dealt with foreign powers. The conclusion of peace 
or the declaration of war required the sanction of the 
General Assembly, whose voice was necessary also for the 
ratification of a treaty and for the election of a Doge. To 
the Doge belonged considerable authority in ecclesiastical 
matters, especially in the election and investiture of bishops ; 
he possessed a quasi-religious character, for on solemn 
occasions it was part of Ids duty to the people whom 
he ruled. 

The election of Anafesto closes the first period of 
Venetian histor}% a period which falls into three main 
<livisions. The first covers the years down to the invasion 
of Attila in 452, during which the lagoons were inhabited 
by a few fishennen, and were dependent on the cities of 
the mainland. The second extends to the Lombard in- 
vasion, when the double process was going on which freed 
the lagoons from their servitude to the mainland, and at 
the same time gave them a population. The third includes 
the vears from the Lombard invasion to the election of the 
first Doge, when the people thus gathered together began 
to develop themselves internally, and to take their place 
externally as a separate State. 


The problem for Venice: To achieve external independence and internal 
uuity — Factors in the problem : Byzantine Empire, Kingdom of Italy, 
the Church — Aristocratic and democratic elements in lagoon population 
— Treaty with Liudpraud — Defines Venetian territory on mainland shore 
— Quarrels between Heraclea and Jesolo — Battle of the pine-wood — Mala- 
mocco supports Jesolo— Death of Anafesto — Marcello TegaHaiio, Doge — 
Church history — The See of Grado — Elias of Grado, Metropolitan of 
lagoons and Istria — Aquileia Arian ; Grado orthodox — Sereno of AqoUeia 
attacks Grado — ^The Lateran Council declares the separation of the Sees — 
Orso IpaiOt Doge — Leo the iconoclast — Venice drawn into the quarrel — 
The Pope appeals to Liudprand— He seizes the Exarchate — ^The Exarch, 
Paul, takes refuge in Venice — Venice restores the Exarch, and obtains com- 
mercial privileges — Civil war in Venice ; the Doge killed — The Dukedom 
abolished in favour of the Mat/iskr Miles — Ci>'il war — Dukedom restored — 
DeodatOy Doge — A modification in favour of Malamocco — The advent of 
the Franks — Tlie Pope hostile to the Emperor, and to the Lombard 
King, appeals to Pepin — Pepin in Italy — His donation to the Pope — ^The 
attitude of Venice — Her commercial activity — Civil wars — The Obelerii 
and Barbaromani — Oalla Gaulo, Doge — Domenico 2fone(fario, Doge — 
Supremacy of Malamocco — Appointment of two ducal assessors — 
Maurizio GalhaiOy Doge — Charlemagne in Italy — He orders the Pope to 
expel the Venetians from Ravenna — The See of Olivolo — Oioranni 
Oa/baiOy Doge Consort — His policy — Maurizio Oalbaio II. , Doge Consort 
— The Galbaii attack the Patriarch of Grado, an adherent of the Franks, 
and kill him — Fortunatus, Patriarch of Grado ; his Frankish policy — 
The Galbaii expelled — OheleriOy Doge — Treaty between Charlemagne and 
Nicephorus — Destruction of Heraclea and Jesolo — Their absorption in 
Malamocco — The Obelerii visit Charlemagne — Pepin's attack and defeat 
— Rialto capital of the lagoons. 

By the year 697 the lagoon communities were so far con- 
structed as a State that they had created a constitution 
and elected a chief; while, in their foreign relations, 
they had secured a virtual independence, though forming, nomi- 
nally, a part of the Eastern Empire, and paying tribute for 


commercial privileges to the Lombard Kings on the mainlaud. 
But much had yet to he done before the community 
could be considered as fully developed. Externally, 
the virtual independence had to be assured, and intemally, 
the fusion of the discordant elements which composed the 
lagoon population was not yet complete. Both tlieae objeots 
demanded achievement before Venice could assume her 
place as a full-grown State; and both were achieved con- 
temporaneously. The external factors in the formation of 
Venice were the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Italy, and 
the Church. The internal factors were two strongly marked 
and antagonistic political tendencies, which characterise and 
divide the lagoon townships. It is not easy to indicate the 
original source of this division, but it probably took its rise 
from ancient claims of superiority advanced by some of the 
mainland municipalities over their neighbours. The one 
element, or political current, was represented by Heraclea, 
and this we will call aristocratic, because its strongest features 
were a leaning towards the Eastern Empire and a tendency 
towards dynastic sovereignty ; the Other was led by Jesolo 
and Malamocco, and this we may call the democratic element, 
because it more or less represented the general aspiration of 
the Venetian lagoon community for that pohtical liberty 
and independence which it subsequently accomplished. The 
resolution of both problems was achieved when the islands of 
Rialto — the islands on which Venice now stands — were 
chosen as the capital of the lagoons ; and the history of the 
emergence of Itialto is the subject of this chapter. 

Paolo Lucio Anafesto, the first Doge of Venice, was a 
native of Heraclea, a city which, for some reason not 
i[uite clear — perhaps because it was nearer the mainland, 
sheltered more mainland refugees, and numbered fewer of 
the original fisher population — had become the abode of the 
ratic families among the fugitives. And this election 
1 proof that Heraclea was the leading township of the 
B at that time. Anafesto was at once brought into 
conflict with the double problem of early Venetian history — 
how to maintain and increase the national independence 
betvfeen the Eastern Empire and the Lombard Kingdom, 



and how to complete the amalgamation of its own component 

A revolution in Kaveniia compelled the Emperor 
Justinus II. to send the Imperial fleet into the Adriatic ; and 
the presence of the Patrician Theodonis no doubt served to 
remind the Venetians that their nominal dependence on the 
Emperor of the East still existed. On the Italian mainland 
the Lombards were governed by a powerful and able prince, 
Liudprand. The Venetians who were engaged in traffic on 
the mainland, and those who owned pastures along the 
shores of the lagoon, could not remain isolated from their 
neighbours. They were inevitably brought into contact. 
The most important event of Anafesto'a reign was the 
commercial treaty which he concluded with Liudprand. By 
the terms of this treaty — the earliest Venetian treaty of 
which we have detailed information — the boundaries of 
Heraclean territory were defined and marked off by dykes 
and ditches ; security of pasturage was guaranteed ; the 
right to trade on the continent and the right to cut wood 
in the forests of Tessera, Campalto, and Bottenigo were 
acquired. In return for these concessions the Venetians 
agreed to pay an annual tribute. 

On the other hand, the internal difficulties of the lagoon 
popidation were by no means accommodated. The first 
Doge had been elected with a view to appeasing the jealousy 
between rival townships and their Tribunes, But such a 
consummation could not lie reached at one step. The fact 
that Heraclea had taken the lead in the person of the Doge 
Anafesto, aroused the jealousy of her neighbour Jesolo, 
supported by Malamocco. Through the obscurity of the 
chronicles we see the traces of a fierce battle, fought in the 
pine forests (Pinfio), which at that time covered the iiirfi, 
Heraclea was victorious, though most of the combatants on 
both sides perished. Tliis fratricidal war was considered so 
abominable by the rest of the lagoon population, that they 
resolved not to remove the traces of the battle, but to leave, 
as a mark of their indignation, the corpses to be devoured 
by birds and beasts. The inhabitants of the Pineto refused 
to occupy any longer so accursed a spot. They and the 




inhabitants of Jesolo moved farther towarcis the mfuuland, 
and there they built a new towi]. To people it 
they offered free entry to all those who opposed 
Heraclea. In this action they were supported by the people 
of Malaniocco, who encouraged the inhabitants of the new 
.Tesolo to set up a separate tribiinician court, independent of the 
Doge, and in opposition to his wilL The Doge Anafesto and 
his native town Heraclea had been victorious in the battle of 
the pine-wood ; but their victory produced a schism, and 
massed against them the rest of the lagoon townships, who 
were resolved that no one of their number should become 
supreme. Against this combination the Doge was powerless, 
and the independent jurisdiction assumed by the new 
townships threatened the whole community with a disastrous 

One of the chronicles, the Altinate, represents Jesolo 
and Malamocco as attacking Heraclea in revenge for the 
battle of the pine-wood, and records that in this attack 
the Doge and all his family, except one cleric, feU in 
battle. It is more probable that Anafesto died peacefully 
17, leaving to his successor the difficult task of con- 
ducting Venice through her many complications. 

We have already stated that Venetian independence 
was worked out between three factora, the Eastern 
Empire, the Lombard Kingdom, and the Church. 
The reign of Tegaliano. who succeeded Anafesto, is chiefly 
remarkable for the development of Church history. Venetian 
relations with both the Empire and the Lombard Kingdom 
were quiet ; but round the See of Grado a vigorous conflict 
began to rage. And the position of Grado is of such im- 
portance in the history of Venice that we must follow the 
Bteps of this struggle, out of which that episcopate emerged 
victorious, the patriarchal See of the lagoon population. 

When Aquileia was destroyed by Attila and his Huns, 
the Patriarch, followed by his people, sought an asylum at 
Grado. After the return to Aquileia, a bishop was left in the 
iagoon city, whose flock was continually increased, partly by 
the schism of the Three Chapters which divided the mainland 
Chorch, and partly by the refugees from the repeated barbarian 


invasions. Ellas, Bishop of Grado in 579, obtained from 
Pope Pelagius II. a decree which erected his See 
into tlie Metropolitan Church of the lagoons and of 
Istria. After the Lombard invasion the mainland bishoprics, 
under Lombard protection, became Arian and hereticaL Then 
the Bishop of Grado claimed that his See, which remained 
orthodox, was the real patriarchal See of the lagoons, in 
opposition to Aquileia, which had followed the course of the 
other mainland Bishoprics. But the erection of Grado into 
the patriarchal See of the lagoons and Istria, was tolerated 
rather than confirmed by Eome ; and the Patriarch of Aquileia 
still had grounds for disputing the pretensions of his neigh- 
bour. As the population of the lagoons grew in wealth and 
importance, so the See of Grado grew ; and this prosperity 
fed the hatred which inspired the Patriarchs of Aquileia. At 
last, in the reign of the Doge Tegaliano, Sereno, Patriarch of 
Aquileia, with the help of the Lombards, who were always 
ready to extend their territory, besieged, captured, and sacked 
the city of Grado. The Bishop naturally sought protection 
from the Doge, the civil chief of the lagoons, and an orthodox 
Christian, not an Arian. But though the claim for aid was 
a legitimate one, questions of self-interest prevented the Doge 
and the Venetians from moving on behalf of the captured 
township. They were afraid that if they came into collision 
with the Lombards, who were supporting Sereno, they would 
forfeit the commercial privileges which they had acquired 
under Anafesto. The Doge contented himself with appealing 
to Pope Gregory II. on behalf of Grado. It was certain 
that the papal authority would support the orthodox Patriarch 
Donato, not the Arian Patriarch Sereno ; and Pope Gregory 
did in fact write to Sereno in vigorous terms, forbidding 
him to enter his neighbour's territory. But it was equally 
certain that if the Doge refused to take overt steps, the Pope 
possessed no physical force by which he could compel 
obedience to his orders. The quarrel continued to rage till, in 
732, the Lateran Council formally declared the separation of 
the two jurisdictions, assigning to Aquileia the mainland from 
the Mincio eastward to the Alps, to Grado the Venetian 
lagoons and Istria. The result of this long struggle, of 




I nearly two hundred years, was that Venice made a further step 
towards lier completion as a State, She acquired for 
herself a patriarchal See, whose independence was 
inised at Rome, though it was not till 1445 that the seat 
of the Patriarch, as well as his title, was changed from Gmdo 
to the capital. 

On the death of theDogeTegaliano iu 726, the people, — 
aasembled atill at Heraclea as the head township of 
the lagoons, — elected their third Doge Orso, whose 
reign brings ua to a crisis in the history of the lagoon 
cities. The Venetians were called upon to take a very 
active part between the Empire, the Lombard Kingdom, 
and the Pope. For the first time they became the principal 
actors in a war on the mainland ; while internally a great 
step was made towards the ultimate fusion of the discordant 
elements in the lagoon population. 

The election of Orso was exactly synchronous with the 
famous edict by which Leo, the Isaurian Emperor, began 
hia attack upon the worship of images. The conse- 
quences of this crusade were soon felt in Italy, and had 
en important bearing on Venetian history, Leo wrote to 
Gregory II. urging him to condemn images, and to the Exarcli 
Paul in Eavenna ordering him to destroy them in that city. 
The Pope endeavoured to dissuade Leo from his imperious 
attitude towards Italy,but without success; and when he found 
tliat his own life was threatened in Rome itself, he turned 
to seek support and protection from Liudprand, the Lombard 
King, who gladly united himself with the Pope against the 
Emperor, not from any love of the Clmrch, but because 
he saw his opportunity to extend his own kingdom. This 
he very soon accomplished by seizing the whole of the 
Exarchate, and by driving Paul to seek refuge in that one 
'Secure asylum for all Italy — the Venetian lagoon. In 
apite of Leo's overbearing conduct the Empire was unable 
to support its own officer; and Paul was compelled to 
appeal for help to the Venetians, among wliom he found 
himself an exile. He urged upon them that the advance 
of the Lombards in the Exarchate would certainly be 
followed by an attack on the lagoons; whereas, if tlie 


Venetians would expel the invaders, he promised them laige 
commercial privileges in Eavenna and the whole 
Pentapolis. Under these circumstances the Venetians 
followed the policy wliich was inevitable for a race that 
was aiming at complete independence, the policy of attack- 
ing the stronger and supporting the weaker of two enemies. 
Tliey were not iconoclasts, and they had much to lose by 
an open rupture with Liudprand ; they had nothing to fear 
from Leo, if they remained neutral But Leo was far away, 
and so obviously weak that he could not send a single ship 
in support of his Exarch, Paul ; while Liudprand was hard 
by, powerful and steadily advancing. The question, now 
posed for the first time, " Wliich will you Venetians choose. 
East or West ? " received the answer which it continued to 
receive, on each new demand, during the next eighty-four 
years. The Venetians decided to support the weaker of 
the two competitors; they agreed to restore the Exarch 

The Doge appears to have been the prime instigator 
of this decision ; and he found support from an unexpected 
quarter. The Pope, who no less than the Venetians, 
dreaded the aggrandisement of Liudprand, was alarmed at 
the fall of the Exarchate and the Pentapolis, and found 
himself forced against his will to make common cause 
with the Venetians in favour of his enemy, the iconoclastic 
Emperor. A letter from Gregory gave weight to the Doge's 
advice. The Venetians armed a fleet, attacked Eavenna, 
captured it, slew the commander Paradeo, Duke of Vicenza, 
and made prisoner Liudprand's nephew, Hildebrand. 
Paul the Exarch was restored, but he was imable 
to maintain himself in the midst of the tumults roused by 
his attempt to enforce the edict against images. He was 
killed the same year. 

The part which Venice took in the restoration of the 
Exarch to his government was most honourable to the 
growing State. In the case of Xarses, 125 years earlier, 
the lagoon-dwellers had assisted the Imperial forces in a 
desultory and guerrilla fashion. But now the Venetians 
single-handed, with an armament all their own, under their 


own leaders, appear as the sole combatants in support of the 
mighty Eoman Empire, attacked in the person of one 
of its Iiighest officials. And the assistance rendered 
to the Empire procured for Venice substantial advantages. 
The Venetians obtained special commercial rights in the city 
of Ravenna, and the X>oge was honoured by the Byzantine 
title of Hj-patos or Consul. 

We should have expected that the Venetians would have 
been satisfied with their achievement, and contented with their 
Doge. Yet the very reverse was the case. The Doge had 
hardly returned from Kavenna when civil war broke out in the 
lagoons. The ancient jealousy between Heraclea and Jesolo 
flamed up again at the fresh glory acquired by the Heracleau 
Doge. The pretext lay ready to hand. The Doge was 
accused of wishing to lead the State into complete sub- 
jection to Constantinople, in order that he might receive the 
sovereignty of it from the Emperor. The proof of the accusa- 
tion was the title which the Doge accepted from the 
Imperial Court. Blood flowed on both sides, and in the 
tumults the Doge was slain. The Venetian people were will- 
ing that their Doge should support the Empire which 
was weak, and attack the Lombards who were strong ; 
that he should draw all the profit that he could for Venice 
out of such seeming loyalty. But they were fully resolved 
that he should neither lead them under Byzantine yoke, nor 
make himself supreme. The full meaning of this popular 
outburst was explained immediately after the miuxier of the 
Doge. The Tribunes summoned the people to the election 
of a new Doge. But tradition reports that the people 
refused to elect " We desire not," they said, " to choose a 
lord, as the doges have shown that they wish to be. Why 
did our ancestors seek these islands except to live in freedom ? 
Had they wished to be slaves, there were many better dwell- 
ing-places where they might have settled." The people were 
dissatisfied with their first experiment in elective monarchy. 
They thought that an appointment for life led the chief of 
the State to impose his own views too violently, in the fear 
that time would fail bim for their ultimate accomplish- 
ment. They resolved to try whether the substitution 


— -" . _ _ ■III 

of an annual magistracy for the Dukedom would meet the 
casa The new chief of the State was called the 
Mastro Miles, the Master Soldier, and he held his 
office for one year only. 

This experimental constitution did not last more than six 
years. There were signs that the murder of Orso and the 
expulsion of his family had not really put a check upon 
the Eastern policy which that Doge was accused of exs^ger- 
ating. For we find that Deodato, the fourth master of 
soldiery, was a son of the murdered Orso ; that the fifth 
received the title of Hypatos, which had given so much 
offence, and that the sixth, and last, was a native of 
Heraclea, the very township whose citizens had proved so 
distasteful, as Doges, to the rest of the community. This last 
election caused the civil war to break out once more. 
After a fierce battle between the people of Jesolo and 
Heraclea, the master of the soldiery, Giovanni Fabriaco, 
was captured and, in accordance with the barbarous Greek 
custom, which became common in Venice, his eyes were 
put out by being exposed over a brazier of live coaL 

The population grew weary of these disastrous civil wars 
which the new constitution, no less than the old, seemed 
powerless to curb. A general assembly was sum- 
moned, not at Heraclea but at Malamocco, and 
Deodato, son of the last Doge, was chosen the fourth Doge 
of Venice. 

The election of Deodato closes an important period in the 
early history of the lagoon communities. The position of 
Venice , in relation to other powers, had been greatly 
improved by the expedition to Eavenna. IntemaUy the 
advance was even more striking. The growing State had 
made trial of a constitutional elective monarchy under the 
lirst Doges ; had discovered the dangers inherent in such a 
system; had abolished the Dukedom, and tried a yearly 
presidency under the Master Soldiers ; had found this 
magistracy inadequate, and had returned again to the 
government by Doges, but with a difference. The Doge is a 
Heraclean, it is true ; he is elected, however, no longer at 
Heraclea but at Malamocco, and reigns there. A step has 


been taken in the direction of consolidating and fusiDg the 
various hostile elements which composed the lagoou 
population. The Venetians had completed their first 
series of experiments in state-making ; but the problem of* 
unifimtion was far from solved. Tlie tendency di.splayed 
\>y tb« summons to meet at Malamocco, not at Heraclea, is 
contioaed throughout the ensuing years, till Malamocco 
emerges as the chief t^^wnship of the lagoons, and the 
UalMUOCcbini take the leatl among the lagoon population, 
tiureli}' suppressing the powerful Heraclea, and paving the 
w^ for the final amalgamation at liialto. 

Tlie coursL- of general history was about to prodnce, 
in tbe reign of the l>ogo Deodato, an event of the highest 
moment in the history of Venice, the advent of tlie 
Fmnks. The hostility between the Papacy an<l Leo the 
iMtman still continued. The Lat«ran Council of 732 
excommuaicatiHl iconoclasts. The Pope and the Emperor 
were completely estranged. On the other hand, the Pope 
was embroiled with the Lombard Kingdom on account of 
Che protection he had extended to the rebellious Duke 
of Spoleto, The attitude of the Lombards was menacing. 
The King had already seized several towns in Roman territor)-. 
Hie Pope was obliged to cast about for some defence 
a^nst tlie threatened storm. At this moment tlie victory 
of Charles Martel over the Saracens at Tours drew the 
attention of the whole world to tlie Franks. It was to the 
Franks that the Pope turned for support in bis isolation. 
/ocharia upheld Pepin in his rape of the crown from the 
^kleroringions. Steplien, his aucces-ior, went in jtcr«on to 
Fiance, where he solicited Pepin's aid in Italy, and crowned 
ibe usuritcr in Paris. Pepin descended on Italy, compelled 
the Ijombards to restore the cities they had seized in the 
Ilncato Romano ami in the PentapoUs. Un his retuni to 
FiaDoe be made a gill of these new acquisitions to his ally 
the Pope, retaining a feudal superiority over the Penta- 
puUs and Ravenna, Thus the cities which were serious 
rivab to Venice in the trade of the Adriatic passed from 
tbe Greek Empire, uominally into the hands of the Franks. 
really under the dominion of the I'ope. 


The policy of the Venetians at this point is not easily 
explained. On previous occasions when Eavenna 
had been wrested from Greek control, the Venetians 
took au active part in helping to restore it to the Empire. 
Now they showed themselves hostile to Constantinople. Their 
merchants in the Levant learned that the Emperor intended 
to recover Eavenna and the Pentapolis. Instantly the news 
was conveyed to the Archbishop of Eavenna, and thence to the 
Pope. The attitude of Venice may perhaps be accounted for 
on two grounds. The Venetians were unwilling to see the 
Lombai-ds in possession of Eavenna ; their presence in that 
city was a constant menace to the lagoons. But there was 
no such objection to the presence of a Pope, without an 
army and without a fleet. Secondly, the party inside the 
lagoons, which was represented by Malamocco, had now 
come to power ; it was distinctly an anti-imperial party, in 
opposition to the strong imperial tendencies of Heraelea, and, 
by consequence, was favourable to the Pope, the enemy of the 

The blow inflicted on the Lombards by the Prankish 
invasion, had so reduced the power of their kingdom that 
Deodato was able to renew the commercial treaty which the 
Venetians had enjoyed under Liudprand, and to restore those 
friendly relations wliich had been disturbed at the time 
when the lagoon population supported the Exarch PauL 

L'^nder these favourable conditions Venetian commerce 
grew apace. We find Venetians trading as far east as 
Constantinople, the Black Sea, and SjTia ; while on the 
mainland they were to be found in the markets of Pavia, 
and even of Eome. Their commercial activity took the 
form which it ever after retained The Venetians became 
great importers and distributors ; they were not then, nor 
ever, an industrial people, to any great extent. This de- 
velopment of the carrj'ing trade led naturally to a rapid 
increase in shipbuilding, which now took its place as one 
of the chief resources of the population. 

But, as happened before, in the reign of Orso, this 
proBperity only served to rekindle the latent fires of jealousy 
between rival communities. A prominent family in the 


nsbg township of Malamocco, the Ohelerii, came to open 
rupture with the Barbaromani, a leading family in 
the declining township of Heraclea. The Doge, though 
elected and reigning at Malamocco, was still a Heraclean, and 
lent, or was accused of lending, his support to those of his 
native town. While he was engaged in fortifying Brondolo, at 
the mouth of the Brenta. near Chio^a, he was treacherously 
seized by Galla Gaulo, a native of Jesolo, the implacable foe 
of Heraclea, and instantly blinded in the usual barbarous 
■fashion. Without giving the people time to assemble, 
Cralla proceeded straight to Malamocco, as the centre of 
lagoon political life, made himself master of it, and 
proclaimed himself Doge. This act was a arup de 
vutin, and decidedly miconstitutional. The people resolved 
to resist it. Galla was besieged in Malamocco, captured 
,d blinded after a reign of one year. The Venetians then 
, elected Domenico Monegario, a native of Malamocco, as their 
sixth Doge. 

The election of Monegario produced another change in 
the constitution, a further experiment in state-mak- 
ing. Malamocco, as we have seen, was the rising 
'township in the lagoon. It had become the seat of the Govern- 
ment ; but it had not hitherto succeeded in creating one of its 
own citizens Doge of Venice. Kow, however, in the person 
of Monegario, Malamocco assumes the absolute supremacy. 
And the democratic nature of this election is shown by the 
anxiety of the Malamocchini to preserve the Dukedom from 
ly tendency to become despotic; an anxiety which they 
ilayed in the appointment of two Tribunes, elected 
iually, who were to act as controllers of the Doge. The 
early chronicles which deal with this alteration in the 
constitution, assign two various causes. Sagornino, in high 
aristocratic vein, declares the change to be due to the 
instability of the popular mind, which is always trj-ing 
new experiments. Lorenzo de Monacis affirms that the 
Tribunes were elected owing to the intolerable haughtiness 
of the previous Doges. The remedy proved worse than the 
eril The Doge found that his assessors attempted to 
overrule him, and to usurp his authority. Be showed 




himself less and less willing to accept the annual election 
of the Tribunes. His opposition cost him his 
throne, his eyesight, and his life. He was killed 
in 764. 

We do not gather from our authorities whether the 
people of Heraclea had any part in the deposition and the 
muixler of llonegario. But it is not improbable that they 
took their share in that event. For in the person of the 
next Doge, Maurizio Galbaio, we find a reWval of Heraclean 
influence in the lagoons. The new Doge was a native 
of Heraclea, but he continued to reign in democratic 

The reigns of Maurizio and his son and successor Gio- 
vanni, bring us to the most important period of Venetian 
history that we have traversed as yet The lagoon 
community was exposed to the greatest dangers it had hitherto 
faced ; and the pressure which was then brought to bear 
upon it, achieved its unification, and caused it to emerge as a 
full-grown independent State. 

Desiderio, the last King of the Lombards, tlireatened to 
attack Eavenna. The Archbishop Leo, who held it for the 
Pope, appealed for assistance to Eome, and Home, following 
a policy which had now become traditional, begged the 
Franks to descend once more to its aid. Karl the Great 
complied willingly. In 773 he crossed the Alps, and 
by the following year he had destroyed the Lombard 
Kingdom, and established the Franks in its place. 

The difference between Frank and Lombard, as fer 
as Venice was concerned, did not make itself immediately 
apparent. One barbarian lord of the mainland had taken 
the place of another; that was all. Venetian commerce 
on the continent continued, we know, and "to the fair 
at Pavia came the Venetians, bringing with them from 
over seas all the riches of the Orient." But Karl was 
a very different neighbour from Liudprand, Desiderio, 
or Astolf He was fully aware that the Venetians, face 
to face with the masters of the mainland, had always 
declared themselves and shown themselves faithful allies of 
Constantinople. He had no intention that such a hostile 




elemont should rem&iii undisturbed oa the very borders of his 
new kingdoio. The opportunity for carrying out his 
desigu was not far to seek. On his arrival in 
luly, Karl had confirmed the donation of Pepin, Lis father, 
to the Pope ; this donation included Bavenna and the 
I'entapolis, in which the Venetians had large commercial 
interests. Karl gave orders to the I'ope — -and euch 
the Pope admitted them to be — that all the 
Veneti&ns should be expelled from Kavenna and the five 
cities. It is possible that a pretext for this summary 
■otioa may be found in the royal edict against slavery, a 
traffic which the Venetians then exercised. However that 
may be, the Pope, in writing to Karl, announced that he had 
given orders to the Archbishop of Ravenna to carry out 
hk ally's Vi-ishes, and the Venetians were tlius forewarned 
M to the attitude which the Franldsh sovereign would adopt 
towards tlieiu. 

Inside the lagoons, under the wise rule of Maurizio 
Galbaio, the Stat« continued to increase in population. 
We find a proof of this growth in the creation of the new 
See of Olivolo, the modern Castello. Hitherto tlie one 
Biabopric of Malaniocco had been sufficient for the spiritual 
Deeds of the island tonmships. A 9>-nod of the whole Patri- 
archate of Gradu was summoned in 774, at which wen- 
prvtent the Patriarch, the bisliops of the province, tlie cler^, 
tba Doge, the nobles, and the people ; and Obelerio of 
Halano<!co was elected first Bishop of the new See, invested 
by the Doge and consecrated by the Patriarch. 

The Venutians were well satiefieil with the able rule of 
Oalboio; but in the course of his long reign the cares of 
State began to weigh too heavily upon him. With the 
pemussiou of the |)eople, he took his son, (liovanni, as hia 
ooUeagueL This innovation was likely to prove dangerous 
in a growing StAtu, where the position of the chief wos 
noC yet rigidly defined, nor his powers circumscribed. It 
left a door open towards the conversion of the Dukedom 
into an hcreditaiy monarchy, a conversion which more than 
one Buboequeot Doge endeavoured to carry ouU But before 
this policy bad hod time to ronao the su^icion of the 



Venetians, Maurizio, the elder Doge, died and left his son 
Giovanni sole Duke. 

Under the rule of this younger and more im- 
petuous Galbaio, the policy of the lagoon-dwellers became 
defined. The Doge himself was a native of Hera- 
clea ; he inherited the Eastern proclivities of his 
township and hia family, and if any scheme for making the 
Dukedom hereditary was present to his mind, this also would 
have tended to confirm him in supporting the weak and distant 
Emperor i^ainst the near and powerful Frank. On the other 
hand, a party favourable to the Franks had grown up inside 
Venice- — a party which urged that hostility to the new 
master of the mainland meant loss of commercial privileges, 
destruction to trade, and the possible annihilation of Vene- 
tian independence. The close alliance between the Franks 
and the Church made tlie Patriarch of Grado the natural 
head of this new faction in the lagoons ; tliough, strictly 
speaking, the party can hardly be called a new one. ; It 
was in reality the party of opposition to the Empire, the 
old democratic faction, whose centre had been Jesolo and now 
was Malamocco. Only we must note this difference, that 
the advent of a churchman as leader made it not impossible 
for tliis party to act some day disloyally to the independ- 
ence of the lagoon communities in obedience to that larger 
allegiance which churchmen have always owned to a power 
outside and above their native country. This Frankish 
party naturally gathered to itself the enemies of the Doge, 
and all those who dreaded the attack on lagoon freedom 
implied in the passage of the Dukedom from father to son — 
an innovation which Giovanni showed a desire to make 
cnstomary, by associating his own son Maurizio with himself 
in the Dogeship. 

A pretest for the explosion of this pent-np hostility was 
soon offered when the new See of Olivolo fell vacant. 
The Doge Giovanni appointed a Greek, named 
Christopher, to the Bishopric ; but the party opposed to the 
Galbaii induced the Patriarch to refuse consecration. The 
Doge, however, resolved to be master. He resorted to violence. 
He manned a fleet, and sent his son and colleague Maurizio to 




Gredo. The cliromcler Daodolo says : " Maiirizio attackeil the 
city with fury ; in the onslaught the Patriarch was 
captured by the Venetians, and then hurled from the 
highest tower of hia palace and killetL" This act of 
Mcrilegious violence only served to accentuate patty hatreds, 
and raised an impassable barrier between the two factions in 
the lagoons. 

The murder of the Patriarch Giovanni did not alter 
the policy of the See of Grado. His nephew and successor, 
Fortunatus, a mau of restless energy, of great ability, and 
indomitable determination, soon proved himself as strong a 
puUsan as ever his uncle had been. In concert with certain 
Guailies of Malamocco, among whom the Obelerii took the 
lad, he matured a plot against the Doges. This plot was 
diaooYored before it could be put into execution. Fortunatus 
and his fellow-conspirators were obliged to fly from Venice. 
The fugitive Patriiitch sought refuge at the Court of Karl, 
where he did all that in him lay to influence the mind 
of the EmjKiror (^inst the Venetians, by dwelling on 
the murder of his predecessor, slain because he was a 
friend to the Franks; and by pointing out to Karl that the 
Venetians, who formed a part of what ought to bo his 
kingdom of Italy, were entirely devoted to the Eastern 
Eknpiiu. Obelerio and the other refugees remained at 
IVoviso, a city of the Frankish kingdom, only twelve miles 
t from the sboros of the estuary. They kupt up rela- 
I with members of their own party in Malamocco ; and, 
a slight delay, a successful rising against the Bogea 
I result. Giovanni and Maurizio, in their turn, were 
: from the lagoons, Obelerio returned to Mala- 
\, snd was elected Doge. 
FiTfl yean previous to this event Karl had been crowned 
Roman Emperor by the Pope, and had cntcrw.1 into 
nt^tiations of marriage with Irene, Empress of ths 
East. If this marriage had been carried out Vonotion inde- 
putdeace would have been crushed, if not for ever, at least 
for many years to come. But the proclamation of Karl as 
Emperor, and his proposal to wed Irene, produced such 
iodignation in ConstAQtinople that the Empress wu deposed, 



aud Nicephorus took her place. When Karl's ambassadors 
arrived they were well received, and Nicephorus 
showed a disposition to treat amicably with the 
new Eoman Emperor. The result of these negotiations 
was a contract between Karl and Nicephorus, concluded 
at Salz. The treaty determined the respective dominions 
of the two Empires, where they were conterminous. What 
position was assigned to Venice in this compact is not abso- 
lutely clear. The Venetian chronicler Dandolo says : " In 
this treaty it was expressly stated that the Venetian cities 
and tlie maritime cities of Dalmatia which had remained 
unshaken in their allegiance to the Empire, should in no 
way be molested, invaded, or minished; and that the 
Venetians should enjoy in peace the possessions, liberties, and 
immunities which they had been accustomed to hold in the 
kingdom of Italy." Eginhard says that Karl took " Istria, 
Liburnia, and Dalmatia, except the maritime cities." The 
statement of Eginhard, who is a contemporary, is less 
definite than that of Dandolo. But we may take it that 
Venice of the lagoons was really declared by this treaty to 
form a part of the Eastern Empire. 

The reign of the two Galbaii had been marked by a 
strong tendency towards Constantinople, and by an 
equally strong anti-Frank policy. The inevitable 
reaction had placed Obelerio on the throne. But the 
triumph of the Frankish democratic Church party had been 
achieved with so much difficulty that Obelerio did not dare 
to display too openly his own political proclivities. This 
hesitation is shown by the fact that although the revolution 
designed by Fortuuatus had been successful, he was not 
invited to return and to fill his See of Grade. The Doge felt 
that the presence of so pronounced a Frankophil would 
endanger his own authority. The attitude of the Venetian 
population, face to face with the Franks on the mainland, 
was one of highly nervous excitement. They seem to have 
felt that the crisis in their history was approaching, and 
that upon the turn which events now took, depended their 
success or their failure to secure the liberty they desired, 
and to make themselves a State. 


K CD' 



The triumph of Malamocco in the person of Obeleiio did 
not fail to produce ita wonted result upon Heraclea. 
The inhabitants of tliat townaliip, under the com- 
inand of one of the Barbaromani, attacked their neighbour 
Jesolo, and worsted its citizeuB. These fled to Malamocco, 
and implored the aid of the Doge against Heraclea. 
Obelerio departed in person for the scene of the contest. 
He summoned a meeting of the Tribunes and people of the 
lagoons on the sliores of the I'ineto ; and there by common 
accord it was resolved that the inhabitants of the two hostile 
townships should be removed to Malamocco, in whose popu- 
lation it waa hoped that they would be absorbed, and so 
forget their ancient enmity. Thus the penultimate step 
towards a complete fusion of the lagoon popidation was 
brought about. Fortunatus, the banished Patriarch, and 
with him Christopher, the Bishop of Olivolo, though refused 
admission to the lagoons, still continued to haunt their borders; 
plotting to maintain the Frankish party in activity, and 
.endeavouring to recover their respective Sees. The Bishopric 
Olivolo had during thia time been illegally occupied by a 
certain John the Deacon. One day Fortunatus captured 
the Deacon, and locked him up in Mestre ; " but," aays the 
chronicle, "while Fortunatus was considering what to do 
with him, the Deacon escaped by night, and went straight to 
Doge" to demand redress. This accident compelled 
'ortunatus to retire from Venice once more. He went to 
ia, where, by the favour of Karl, he waa made Bishop of 
'ola. But his exile did not last long. We presently find 
reheved from his outlawry, and restored to his 
itriarchal See. 

This return of Fortunatus marks the crowning point of 
the Frankish faction in the lagoons. The result was 
soon shown iu the visit which Obelerio and his 
ither Beato, paid to Karl, from whom they submissively 
;eived orders as to the government of the State. It is not 
irising that the Doge was accused of a distuict plot to 
id over the lagoons to Karl, with a view to their being 
irbed in the Italian kingdom. The party hostile to the 
:ophil Doge at once informed Nicephorus of what was 



going forward ; aud in a short time the Imperial fleet, under 
Nicetaa, appeared in the Adriatic His presence 
compelled the Doge to simulate submission to 
Constantinople ; and Fortunatus, who was too deeply dyed in 
Frankish colours, fled once more. Nicetas coocluded a truce 
with Pepin, son of Karl, and returned to Constantinople, taking 
with him hostages for the good behaviour of the Venetians. 
The conclusion of this long struggle for unity and 
freedom, which had been carried on through so many years, 
was not far off now. Pepin, King of Italy, resolved to make 
his kingdom a fact, not merely a name. One of the first 
quarters to which he turned his attention was that little 
comer of North Italy wliich had shown itself so indepen- 
dent, the lagoon of Venice. He collected his armament 
at Ravenna, and prepared his attack. The assault from 
the sea side was not difficult. Pepin soon made himself 
master of Cavarzere, Brondolo, Chiog^a. From Chioggia to 
Malamocco the operations were more complicated, owing to 
the various sea openings which divided the Lido, along which 
Pepin had to pass before he could strike at Malamocco, 
the seat of the Government, Near one of these ports, Albiola, 
now Porto Secco, the Venetians made a stand. But Mala- 
mocco was so seriously menaced that the women, children. 
and goods of the inhabitants were removed to the midmost 
island of the lagoons, Eialto, the present city of Venice. 
For many months the resistance continued. The lagoon 
channels were impassable for Pepin's heavy vessels. The 
light boats of the Venetians never ceased to harass the 
Franks. At last in despair, Pepin, so tradition represents, 
cried to the stubborn islanders, " Own yourselves my sub- 
jects, for you come from lands that are mine " ; to which 
came the answer, " We are resolved to be the Koman 
Emperor's men, not yours." The great heats came on : the 
feverish shores of the Lidi proved fatal to the Frankish 
chivalry : rumours, too, of the advent of a Greek fleet all 
warned Pepin that he had failed. He withdrew from the 
lagoons, after promising to recognise every Venetian right 
and privilege on the mainland, and to restore the islands 
he had captured ; in return for which the lagoon population 



consented to a tribute such as they had formerly paid to the 
Lombard Kings. 

The repulse of Pepin is by far the most 
important event in early Venetian history. It is not 
surprising that Venetian pride and patriotism should 
have gathered round this ceutral point a laige 
accumulation of legend, under wliich the plain facta have 
become obscured. This triumph over the Franks meant that, 
externally, the Venetians had demonstrated their right to 
exist. They had liuown how to preser\'e their freedom and 
to repel a foe. Internally, it signified that the long period of 
amalgamation was at an end ; that the hostile elements in the 
original lagoon population were now fused aud made one 
ander stress of foreign invasion. Eialto, the new capital of the 
lagoons, rose into pre-eminence upon the ruins of Heraclea 
and of Malamocco, and stood there as an outward and visible 
sign of reconciliation effected in face of a common danger. 
But the choice of Eialto as capital was not merely a monu- 
ment to political compromise ; it was also the result of a 
long process of natural selection. The invasions of HunSj 
Goths, and Lombanls had demonstrated the perils of the 
mainland as a place of habitation. The attack of Fepin 
proved the insecurity of the seaboard. After much suffering 
and many dbasters, the Venetians chose that middle group 
of islands, half-way between seaboard and mamland, then 
known aa Eialto, which political no less than geographical 
necessity indicated as the true home of that city State whose 
history we have now to follow. 


The hereditary tendency in the Dukedom — The growth of Venetian commerce 
— Agnello Pariiciaco, Doge — ^The growth and embellishment of Rialto 
— Venice excluded from the Frankish Empire — Plot against the Doge — 
Relations with the Blast — The Saracens — Oiovanni Pariiciaeo, Doge 
Consort — Quarrel in the Doge's family — Giuatiniano Partieiaco, Doge 
— AVar with the Saracens — Aquileia and Grado — ^The translation of S. 
Mark's body — Giovanni Partieiaco, Doge — Last efforts of the Frankiah 
jMirty — The Dogeship almost hereditary — The Particiachi expelled — 
Pietro TradonicOf Doge — ^The Sclar pirates and the Saracens — ^The ezpedi> 
tion to Taranto a failure — Saracens threaten the lagoons — The pirates 
threaten the lagoons — Defences of the lagoon entrances — ^Treaty with 
Lothair, oldest diplomatic document — Feuds between noble families — 
Murder of the Doge — Orso Partieiaco /., Doge — Aquileia and Grado — 
The quarrel between the Doge and Patriarch of Grado about presentation 
to Torcello — Erastian attitude of Venice — Quarrel with Aquileia — 
Giovanni Partieiaco II., Doge — "War of Comacchio — Orso Partieiaco, 
Doge Consort — Pietro Candiano I., Doge — War with Dalmatian pirates 
— Piciro Tribune, Doge — The diploma of the Emperor Guy — Hungarian 
invasion — Fortification of Venice — Orso Partieiaco, Doge — ^The diploma 
of the Emi^eror Rudolph — Venetian right to coin money — Pietro Candiano 
II., Dogo — Alliance with Istria against pirates — Quarrel with Wintker — 
Pietro Partieiaco, Doge — Pietro Candiano III., Doge — Lupo, Patriardi 
of Aquileia, reduced — Pietro Candiano IV., Doge — Meaning of his election 
— Relations with Otho II., and with Zimices — Ambition of Candiano^ 
His death — Pietro OrseoloL, Doge — Taxation of Venice to pay Hwalderada's 
dowry — Rebuilding of the Palace and S. Mark's — Flight of the Doge — 
VitaU Candiano, Doge — Tribuno Memo, Doge — Family feuds — Caloprini 
and Morosini — Death of Otho — The Doge deposed. 

The period we are now about to enter is marked by two 
broad characteristics, which we shall find displaying 
themselves in the course of this narration. First, 
there is a tendency to render the Dukedom hereditary in some 
one powerful family — a tendency which was always checked by 
the instinct of the people, who, as they had already declared. 


I did not come to the lagoons " to live under a lord." The 
constant efforts of a few great families to secure 
the Dogeship for themselves, and the equally con- 
I stant opposition on the part of the people, produced 
I frequent riots in the city; hut during this process the 
I ducal position gradually assumed the shape it was to retain 
I throughout Venetian history. 

Secondly, the EepuhUc achieved an immense extension 
I of her commerce, partly by diplomacy, partly by arms. 
1 Venice went to school, as it were, and learned the use of 
fti^ose weapons by which she was to acquire her singular 
r position in European history. At the same time she trained 
herself in tliat egotistical policy which is usually charac- 
teristic of a commercial race; her conduct was guided, and 
inevitably guided, by a consideration of her own sole 
interests. Frank, Saracen, or Greek, believer or infidel, were 
alike indifferent to her, except in so far as they affected for 
tbe moment her own prospects of aggrandisement 

After the repulse of Pepin, and the defeat of the 
_ Frankish party in the lagoons, the people assembled 
and elected as their first Doge in the township of 
Rialto, Agnello I'articiaco,' a noble of Heraclean descent, 
nrhose family had given Tribunes to tliat group of islands. 

Agnello'a first care was directed to the erection of 
Sialto into a city worthy to be the capital of the whole 
lagoon community. The Venetians had always been forced 
to fight, not merely against men for their existence as a 
~late, but also against nature for the very ground on which 
tbey stood. And fighting had to be done now before Kialto 
Bould be made lai^e enough and sufficiently secure to receive 
rapidly growing population. Tlie Doge appointed a 
lommission of three to superintend the necessary works. 
Ketro Tradonico was charged with the direction of all new 
Pictures, Lorenzo with the excavation of canals and 
ha formation of building sites, wbUe to Nicolo Ardisonio 
entrusted the conservation of the Lidi against the 
yeppetual corrosion of the sea, " 

^^ A dwelling for the Government was also required ; and 
' 1 Mlair Sdgornino in tiii? spelling of this name. 


Agnello began to build a ducal palace, " close by the chiu 

of S. Theodore," that is, on part of the site occupied 

by the present ducal palace, though time and fires 

have left U3 no traces of this earliest home of the Venetian 


Agnello was fortunate in his foreign relations ; he reaped 
the benefit of Pepin's repulse. Karl, when renewing his 
treaties with the Eastern Empire, reafBrmed the agreement 
between himself and Nicephonis, by distinctly excludii^ 
Venice from the bounds of his own dominions ; though he 
allowed the Venetians to retain all their possessions within 
the West But the party of the Frankophils, under their able 
though restless leader, Fortunatus, was not yet completely 
crushed. Fortunatus incurred suspicion of having taken a 
chief part in a serious conspiracy against the life of the 
Doge, The plot was discovered, and two of its leaders 
were executed ; a third fled to Lothair, then King of Italy. 

Fortunatus was expelled from his See, and compelled 
to seek an asylum in France, But peace and quiet were 
not in his nature. His passion for plotting remained un- 
cooled. He became involved in other conspiracies, was 
denounced at Eome, summoned to the eternal city by the 
Pope, and died on his way there. The banishment and 
death of Fortunatus were a great relief to the Doge, and a 
fatal blow to the Frankisb party, wliich, as we shall see, made 
only one more effort to disturb the State of Venice before 
disappearing for ever from the scene. 

Agnello's relations with the Eastern Empire were more 
cordial. He was a Heraclean by descent, and therefore he 
entertained a natural leaning towards the East. He sent his 
son, Giustiniano, to congratulate Leo on his accession to the 
throne ; and his grandson, Angelo, to fulfil a similar 
mission in the case of Michel Ihe Stanmierer. The former 
received the honorary title of Hypatos, and from Con- 
stantinople came the present of many precious relics of 
saints. But there were other and more urgent reasons 
which drew Venice and the East together. The decay of 
the Frankish authority on the mainland produced such 
confusion that it was almost impossible for the Venetians 




to enter into practical political relations witli their im- 
mediate neighbours. Compared with the kingdom 
of Italy, the Empire of the East was a firm and 
stable institution. On the other band, a naval power 
bad begun to make itself felt in the Mediterranean. The 
Saracens were arousing the serious alarm of the Greeks. 
It was of the highest importance that friendly relations 
between Constantinople and Venice should be maintained ; 
for even at this early date, Venice was the only State 
which could man a fleet capable of coping with the 
new power. We sliall have frequent occasion throughout 
this chapter to observe how extremely weighty in the 
development of Venice this advent of the Saracens proved ; 
for it compelled th^ young Eepublic to try its weapons, and 
tempted it to bolder adventures than any it had dared as yet. 
Early in his reign Agnello begged and obtained leave 
to renew the pernicious custom of creating the Doge's 
son Doge Consort. His elder son, Giustiniano, was then 
in Constantinople, and Giovanni, the younger, assumed 
the ducal dignity. "Wlien Giuatiniano returned home be 
complained loudly of the honour done to his younger 
brother, who bad deserved nothing of the State, He refused 
to live with his fatlier in the palace, and retired, accompanied 
by his wife, to a house near the church of San Severo. 
Agnello, wisliing to pacify his elder son, deposed Giovanni, 
and raised Giustiniano to the coveted post Giovanni became 
so troublesome that he was expelled to Zara; thence he 
escaped to Bergamo, and appealed to the Emperor Lewis. 
On learning tliis, his father and brother begged the Emperor 
to hand over the fugitive to them ; the Emperor consented, 
and Giovanni was dismissed to Constautinople, where he 
remained quiet. This family quarrel in the Doge's household 
forms a fitting prelude to the many more serious complica- 
tions which were produced by the system of the Doge 

Agnello died and left his son Giustiniano, the Doge 

Consort, in sole authority. The Empei'or of the East 

Michel, was, at that time, engaged in endeavouring to 

save Sicily from the Saracens. On two occasions the Imperial 



fleet received reinforcements from Venice. On neither 
occasion did the Venetians distinguish thenieelves, 
and the whole expedition proved a failure, ending 
with the fall of Messina in 831. But it is important as 
being the first occasion on which the Venetians faced the 
Saracens, whose more intimate acquaintance they were 
presently to make. 

Giustiniano's short reign of two years was marked by 
two events of interest. The first was the attack made by 
Maxentius, Patriarch of Aquileia, on the Patriarch of Grada 
Maxentius found support from Lothair ; and, in a Council 
held at Mantua, he obtained a decree which declared that the 
See of Aquileia was Metropolitan of Lstria. This was clearlvj 
in direct opposition to the decree of the Lateran Council i 
732, which had declared the separation of the two jui 
dictions. The death of the Pope, however, to whodi 
Venerius, Patriarch of Grado, had appealed, left the questi 
undecided, though Venice was again reminded that 
interest lay in maintaining the See of Grado against AquUei 
which, as a mainland city, was liable to be influenced by t 
masters of the Italian kingdom. 

The second and more picturesque event of Giustinianolfl 
reign was the translation of the body of S, Mark, 
the aurtiis ludftr^ as Dandolo calls him, from Alex- 
andria to Venice. Whatever the historical authenticity i 
this episode may be, it siguifies, in a way, coming i 
so soon after the concentration at Rialto, the religious dec 
cation of the new State. S. Mark became the patron i 
protector of the new Venice at Rialto. And Venice felt ^ 
peculiar interest in the Apostle of the Lion : he is said t 
have preached in Aquileia — to have been, 
founder of that See ; the Bishopric of Grado was derived x 
direct descent from the See of Aquileia; some of i 
apostle's glory, therefore, environed the Patriarchate of t 
lagoons, and gave the Venetians a certain right to com 
their patriarchal See as not so very inferior to that of I 
itself; for S. Mark, the Evangelist and Apostle, was at lea 
as honourable as S. Peter the denier. And this conceptiOE 
though one of fancy, was not without its influence on 1 




attitude which the Republic of Venice habitually adopted 
towards Rome in matters ecelesitistical. 

The fact of the translation of a body from Alex- 
audris to Venice is tolerably certain. The details are, no doubt , 
mythiot]. But the account given by Martin da Canal, the most 
vi\id and picturesque of early Venetian chroniclers, will serve 
aa well as any other. " Truth it is," says he, " that in those 
days there was a ship of Venice in the port of Alexandria. 
•nd in that city was the precious body of Monsiguore S, 
Mark, whom the infidels had slain. Kow on board the ship 
of Venice were three brave men, Rostico of Torcelln, Buooo 
of Ualamocco, and Stiiuraco. In these three men so strong 
was the hope and ho ;>reat their desire to carry Munsignore 
S. Mark to Venice, tliat they went cunningly about htm 
who was guanlian of the body, and became friends to him. 
Tbea it came to ]hi^ that they said unto him, ' Sir, an you 
will with us to \'eiiice, we will carry away with us 
ths body of S. Mark, and we will make you very rich.' But 
when the good man — llieodore he was called — heard this he 
said, ' Silence, airs, speak not such words. Tiiis thing can 
tiover bcL For the pagans hold him above all price ; and, 
abould thoy suspect yonr desire, not all the riches of the 
world would save you from being cut to bits. So I beg 
yuQ say not such words.' Then said one of them, ' Well, 
will wait till the Kvangclist hiuiself shall bid you come 
with oa : * ^Vnd so they said no more that time. Dut 
imaeotly it came to ]>asR, that iuto the heart uf that 
Ijood man came the desire to take the body of S. Mark 
Kram thence, and tu go witli liiui to Venice ; and he said 
to thoM brave men. ' Sirs, how shall we lift the holy body, 
and no one bo the wiser t ' And one replied, ' We will do 
it right cleverly.' Then they went to the tomb \Fith all 
qieud. aD<l lifted the body of S. Mark from where it lay. 
tni put it in a basket, anil covered it with cubl)agi.'3 and 
poric And tliey look another body and dressed it in the 
Taitara they had stripiwd from the body of S. Mark, and 
it in llie tomb, and sealed the tomb as it was sealed 
before. Then those bravo men took S. Mark and carried him 
is the bosket aboard their ship, and they placed the body 


between two quarters of pork, and hung them to the i 
Now at the very momerit when they were opening the o » 1 
tomb, an odour spread through the city, so sweet 
that had all the spice shops of the world been in Alesandi 
it would not have been enough to scent it' so. Then the 
pagans said, ' Mark is moving ' ; for once each year they 
were wont to smell this odour. All the same they went to 
the tomb, and opened it, and saw the body wrapped in the 
vesture of S. Mark, and were content. But some of the 
pagans came to the ship, and searched her through ; for they 
thought that the Venetians were carrying off S. Mark. But 
when they saw the pork hanging from the mast they began to 
cry, ' hanzir, hanzir,' and fled from the vessel. The wind was 
fresh and fair. They set their canvas to the wind and passed 
out into the open sea. On the third day they came to 
Koumania. It was night They were under full sail, and all 
asleep, so that they bore right down upon an island. But the 
precious Evangelist roused the master and said, ' Lower 
your sails, or we go on shore.' Then the master roused the 
crew and lowered the sail ; and so that ship came into 
Venice." The body of S. Mark was received with every 
honour. The Doge assigned a piece of laud near the chapel 
of S. Theodore, on which he began to buUd a church in 
honour of the Evangelist, who from that time forward 
usurped the place of S. Theodore as patron of the lagooa 

Giustiniauo died and was succeeded by his brother 
Giovanni, whom he had ousted from the position of 
Doge Consort in the reign of their father, Agnello. 
Giovanni had hardly ascended the throne wlien the FranMah 
party made its final effort to recover its position in the 
lagoons. Obelerio, the exiled Doge, returned to the borders 
of the estuary, and opened negotiations with the people of 
his native townsliip, Malamocco, The Doge, Giovanni, 
summoned the militia, and proceeded to attack the town 
where Obelerio had taken up Ms abode. But the Mala- 
moccan portion of his troops rebelled and declared themselves 
for Obelerio. The Doge acted with great promptitude and 
severity. He abandoned, for the moment, his attack on 



L-Obelerio, and went straight to Malamocco. He put the 
I town to fire and sword. Then returning to 

I Obelerio's stronghold, he captured it and the ex- 

Doge, Obelerio was decapitated^ and his head sent to 
Malamocco first, as a warning, and then back again to the 
mainland, where it was planted on a stake as a defiance 
I to the Frankish power. With the death of Obelerio the 
I hopes of the Frankophils died away, and that element of 
I disturbance was erased from lagoon history. 

But the Doge's action throughout had been too high- 
handed to satisfy the Venetian population, which was atill 
suspicious of its ruler's conduct. A further ground for 

I alarm was offered by the fact that the ducal dignity had 
now become all but hereditary in the family of Particiaco. 
A certain Pietro Caroso, a man of ambitious rather 
thim of patriotic temperament, found little difficulty in 
forming a party so strong that the Doge was compelled to 
seek safety iu flight. Caroso was elected to fill the vacant 
ihrone, but only by his own followers ; nor had he the 
power to maintain his position for more than six months. At 
the end of that period the faction of the Particiachi succeeded 
In causing a revolution against him, in the course of which he 
was seized and blinded, while the exiled Doge was restored 
to the throne. But the movement set on foot by Caroso 
was too powerful and too deeply rooted in the popular 
instinct to be easily snuffed out. Though the Venetians 
resented the usurpation by Caroso, they had not forgiven 
I the sack of Malamocco, nor forgotten that Giovanni was the 
ird Particiaco who had held the ducal chair in succession. 
Peter's Day, as the Doge was returning from the 
Reharch of that saint at Castello, he was violently seized in 
[tlie street; Iiis beard was shaved, his crown tonsured, and 
I waa compelled to retire to a monastery in Grado, where 
J presently died. 

The strength of the popular movement against the 

dynastic tendency of the Particiaco family made 

itself plainly visible at the next election, when the 

joplfi chose Pietro Tradonico, not merely no relation to 

Particiachi, but a man whose ancestors came from 





Jesolo, the ancient rival of Heraclea, the original home 
of the last Doge's family. No sooner was Tradonico 
seated on the throne, however, and had won the 
confidence of the people, than he induced them to forget one 
of the chief reasons wliich had led to his own election. At 
his request they gave him leave to raise his son to the 
position of Doge Consort Such persistence in the habit 
of creating a Doge Consort would almost lead us to suppose 
that there existed a party in the State which considered 
such an office to be constitutionally a necessity. 

The reign of Tradonico is of high importance in the 
history of Venice. During this stormy quarter of a century 
the Eepublic was exposed to two great external dangers, 
one from the Sclav pirates of the Dalmatian coast, the other 
from the Saracens ; her commercial position on the mainland 
of Italy was greatly strengthened by her friendly relations 
with Lothair, while internally, she suflTered from the violence 
of those family feuds which tore the State asunder. 

The broken coast-line of Dalmatia, with its numerons 
islands lying parallel to the shore, with its deep gulfs, its 
narrow channels, rapid currents and sunken rocks, had long 
offered a fitting shelter for tlie hordes of Sclavs who, settling 
upon those shores, took to piracy as a profession. These nests 
of freebooters were a perpetual menace to Venetian trade, 
and as early as the last reign, the Dalmatian pirates had 
begun to seize Venetian merchantmen while beating their 
way up the Adriatic, and making for Venice. One of the 
first acts of Tradonico was to attack the corsairs on two 
occasions. The earlier expedition proved successful. But a 
lawless race, such as the Dalmatian pirates, was not to be 
bound by treaties of peace, and the Doge had no sooner 
turned his back than depredations began again. The second 
expedition was unsuccessful, and Venetian trade remained 
exposed to the dangers of freebooters till the glorious 
expedition of Pietro Orseolo II. curbed the audacity of the 
Dalmatians for a time. 

A still more formidable foe was about to claim the atten- 
tion of the young Eepublic. The Emperor Theophilus sent to 
request the help of the Venetian fleet against the Saracens, 




who, in 881, had made themselves masters of Measiua. 
The Venetians, after some hesitation caused by the 
(Irestl of provoking an enemy so able to injure their 
trade, resolve<l to throw themselves vigorously into the war. 
The size of the fleet which they sent towards Taranto proves 
how powerful the Republic hail become. It consisted of 
sixty vessels, manned by two hundred men apiece. The 
expedition failed utterly. The Saracens were victorious 
and sailed up the Adriatic, devastating Ban and Ancona. 
They reached the port of Adria, at no great distance from 
Brondolo and the lagoons. Venice lay defenceless as far 
as her fleet was concerned. But when the Saracens saw 
prospect of but little booty, and great difficulty in obtaining 
that, they withdrew. On the open sea and all down the 
Adriatic they were masters. Rut the intricato waters of 
the lagoon again defied invasion, and the singular nature of 
their home once more saved the Venetians from certain 
fuio. Tlie Saracens were masters of the Adriatic, and Uie 
Venetians were compelle<l, in self-defence, to try yet again 
the fortune of war against them, this time in the Quamoro, 
and again they suflered defeat. 

The disastrous eflects of these reverses were soon dis- 
played in the descent which the Sclavonian pirates 
moiio upon tlie borders of the lagoon. They took 
and uck«il ('aorle. Tlie Dalmatians were bold and skilful 
narigatora, not likely to shrink, as the Saracens had done. 
from atlompting to penetrate the lagoon. So pressing was 
the danger, and so enfeebled were the Venetians at sea, that 
the Bepuhlic was comjwUud to turn its attention to the 
immediate defences of the channels which let! into the home 
watets. The Doge constructed two guardships. of a size 
at that time unknown, and the-se were stationed along the 
■bore to protect the breaks in the line of the Lidi. 

In the midst of these misfortunes tlte I>oge devoted his 
tmergies to consolidating Venetian relations witli the main- 
land. The Saracens and the Sclav pirates were foes against 
whom all were ready to join. Tlie Doge, therefore, found 
oo difScnlty in obtaining a very ad\-antageous treaty from 
(he Emperor Lothiiir. The document still exists, and is 



the oldest monument of Venetian diplomacy which has been 
preserved to us in the originaL The terms of the 
treaty provide that ( 1 ) all molestation of Venetians on 
the continent is to cease ; (2) fugitives from Venice shall 
not receive asylum; (3) subjects of the Empire are for- 
bidden t« buy or to trade in A'enetian subjects as slaves ; 
^4) murderers are to be extradited by both parties; (5) 
ambassadors shall enjoy immunity ; (6) the confines continoa) 
to be those designed by the treaty with Liudprand; (7)" 
Italians are pledged to remain neutral in any attack on 
Venice, and to take the offensive against pirates; (8) the 
Venetians shall enjoy freedom of trade on land, and the 
subjects of the Empire the like by sea. The friendly 
spirit which animates this accord between Venice and the 
Western Empire continued for many years ; and a seal was 
set to it, as it were, by the visit which the Emperov 
Lewis II., Lothair'a successor, paid to the lagoons in 
year 856. 

During the reign of Tradonico, as far as external rela- 
tions were concerned, the Venetians had been brought into 
collision with two powerful enemies, the pirates and the 
Saracens. They had been put to a severe trial, and had 
emei^ed from it unsuccessful on the whol& But they had 
acquired a knowledge of themselves. They had proved 
their ability to make and to man a large fleet; they had 
been forced to fortify the lagoon entrances, which they now 
knew to be a weak point in their natural defences. On the 
other hand, in the face of common dangers, their relations 
with East and West had been strengthened, and they found 
themselves sought (or as allies by both Empires, 

Inside Venice the city was rent by the quarrels of 
various noble families, who seem to have gathered ronnd 
them the unappeased malignity of more ancient feuds. In 
these internecine struggles the Giustiniani, the Baseggi, and 
the Polani on the one hand, the Istolii, Silvi, and Barbolani 
on the other, stood out as champions. It was impossible for 
the Doge and the Government to remain indifferent spectators 
of the bloody brawls and savage vendettas which tore the 
city into two hostile camps. They took vigorous steps; 




^d tlie families who attached themselves to the Istolii were 
expelled. The exiles went at once to the Emperor 
Lewis, and by his intercesaiou they were restored, but 
under obligation to hve on the island of Giudecca, where it was 
hoped that the wide stretch of water between them and the 
neighbouring islands would help to keep them at peace. Ko 
sooner had they returned to Venice, however, than they began 
to plot against the chief of the State, and successfully. As 
the Doge was leaving the church of San Zaccaria, he was 
assaulted and murdered. His body lay on the threshold 
of the church till night came down, when the nuna gave it 
decent sepulture in the courtyard of their convent. The 
■city fell a prey to civil war for many days after the Doge'a 
assassination. His partisans withdrew into the ducal palace, 
Ibrtified it, and refused to give it up. A commission was 
at last appointed to compose matters. The Doge's murderers 
Tpere tried, and some banished. The palace was then sur- 
xendered by Tradonico's followers, and the election of a new 
LDoge restored quiet for a time. 

With the election of Orso Particiaco the ducal dignity 
was once more confen-ed on the family which had 
held it after the seat of Government had been 
LOved to Rialto. The reign of Tradonico was merely an 
episode, though a long and important episode, in the liistory 
■of the Particiaco dynasty. 

Tlie chief events of Orso's reign centre round the two 
patriarchal Sees of Grado and Aquileia ; with both of them 
Particiaco came into collision. The Doges of Venice claimed, 
among their other rights, the nomination and the investiture 
of bishops. Orso named to the See of Torcello a certain 
Domenico Caloprini, member of one of the most powerful 
families in the city. The Patriarch of Grado, however, 
refused to accept the nomination, on the grouud that 
Domenico had rendered himself incompetent in canon law. 
■The qnarrel continued for many years. The Patriarch 
[^tired to Istriii, and thence to Home. The Pope endea- 
■Toured to interfere, and summoned the bishops of the lagoon 
to his presence. They ignored the summons. He 
nnt his legate, who held a Council in Eavenna, at which 



no Venetian bishops presented themselves. Finally, the Doge 
and the Patriarch arrived at a compromise by them- 
selves. Galoprini was to reside at Torcello and to 
enjoy the revenues of the See, but was not to be consecrated 
as long as the Patriarch was alive. The Patriarch died, and 
the Doge exti-acted from Iiis successor a promise that he 
would consecrate whomsoever .should be presented to the 
vacant See of Torcello. The Doge at once presented Galo- 
prini, and so won his point The importance of the episode 
lies in this, that here we find the Doge asserting and main- 
taining that Erastian attitude towards the Church which 
always characterised Venetian ecclesiastical policy. The 
Doge ignores the interference of Rome, and exacts obedience 
from the clergy of the State, as from any other subject. 
The victor)', in fact, remained with Venice, though the 
Church of Rome would not allow a practical defeat to 
constitute an establishment of rights. 

The brush with the Patriarch of Aquileia was of a 
different nature, though it was hardly less important. That 
Patriarch was in no sense a subject of the Doge, but he had 
been and was a declared enemy of the lagoon Patriarchate, 
which the Doge considered himself bound to protect, while 
exacting obedienca Walpert, the Patriarch of Aquileia. 
had shown his hostility by incursions into the territory of 
Grado, and by the annoyance of Venetian traders in their 
markets and factories on the mainland. In order to reduce 
the Patriarch to terras tlie Doge employed, not arms as here- 
tofore, but another weapon, used now for the first time, though 
frequently adopted in later years. He closed the porta at 
the mouths of the rivers which flow through the territory 
of Aquileia, and forbade all exports to that city. So 
important had the lagoons become as a depot of supplies for 
the mainland, that the Patiiarch almost immediately found 
himself compelled to yield to the blockade, and to implore 
for peace. 

Orso, after reigning for seventeen years, was succeeded 
by his son Giovanni, who had already been associ- 
ated with him as Doge Consort Venetian conunerce 
had been steadily growing, in spite of Saracens and Sclavs. 




I the successful blockade of Aquileia demonatrated. The 
Venetian war-fleet had been increasing in power, 
thanks to the ever-present danger from these same 
Saracens and Sclavs. It was impossible that Venetian 
commercial interests should remain untainted by jealousy 
of their neighbours. It was equally impossible that the 
Venetians should not use their fleet to crush their rivals. 

The first war inspired by the desire for commercial 
aggrandisement was that which Giovanni undertook against 
Comacchio, a port in the lagoons of Itavenna, under the 
immediate tutelage of the Marquises of Este and the more 
Temote protection of the Emperor. On an excuse of no 
validity, the Doge sailed to Comacchio, took and sacked it, 
returning home laden with booty. The protectors of Com- 
lacchio were either unwilling or unable to resent this high- 
handed act Charles the Fat, King of Italy, even renewed 
the usual pact with the Venetians. The most noticeable 
Edition to the treaty was a clause against the murder of 
the Doge ; though the penalty of banishment and a flne of 
one hundred pounds of gold, does not seem to be a very 
(owerfnl bridle for such violent political passions as iit that 
fayed the Venetians. 

Giovanni, the Doge, fell ill and abdicated in favour of 
! younger brother Pietro, who, however, died almost at 
nice. Giovanni then returned to power with Orso II., his 
brother, as Doge Consort. But neither endured the strain of 
office for long. Both insisted on abdicating, and the people 
elected Pietro Candiano as their new chief. Pietro was 
presented to Giovanni at the dncal palace, and received 
from his hands the sceptre, sword, and ducal chair. 

t Candiano, a man of vigorous and warlike character, de- 
termined to signalise his reign by the suppression of 
the Dalmatian pirates, who were still the pest of 
the Adriatic. He seems to have treated the task too lightly. 
His first expedition was a failure. He then manned twelve 
iressels. and sailed, in command himself, towards Zara, On 
first assault the Sclavs fled ; but wheu hard pressed, 
r made a stand, and in the conflict Pietro Candiano was 
ain, after holding the ducal chair tor five months. Hia 



body was recovered from the enemy and buried in Grado, 
where they still show his tomb. 

The Venetians were divided upon the question of 
the new Doge. In order to avoid a ci\Tl war, they invited 
Giovanni I'articiaco to leave his home once more, and to 
assume the supreme office until a successor could be peace- 
fully and legally elected. Giovanni consented ; and shortly 
afterwards the votes of the Venetians were concentrated on 
Pietro Tribune. 

Two events of importance mark the reign of Pietro 
Tribuno. One of his first acta was to secure the 
renewal of the Imperial diplomas from the Emperor 
Guy. The growing importance. iuBuence, and power of 
Venice may be very clearly traced in the steady expansion 
of the rights and privileges which are demanded, and 
usually conceded, on the renewal of these diplomas. In the 
present instance we meet for the first time a most notable 
enlargement in the capitulations. It is declared in Guy's 
diploma that " in all parts of our kingdom any Venetian 
shall remain under the jurisdiction of the Doge." As we 
have already noticed, extradition was provided for by the 
diploma of Lothair, and so such a provision as this in the 
diploma of Guy was possible ; and the knowledge that 
contracts would be upheld and civil suits adjudged according 
to Venetian practice, must liave offered a strong inducement 
to Venetian merchants to embark their capital and their 
energies in mainland traffic, and to open shops and factories 
in Italian cities. 

The second notable occurrence of Tribuno's reign was 
the invasion of the Hungarians, which exposed 
Venice to extreme danger. Thanks to her natural 
position, she emerged stronger, more self-confident, firmer 
than before. The Hungarians, after defeating Berenger, 
King of Italy, on the Brenta, were masters of the whole 
Venetian plain. The dread of their presence compelled the 
Venetians to look to their fortifications. The mainland 
shores of the lagoons had already been protected by walled 
fortresses or towers at Cavarzere, Bebbe, Brondolo, and 

Grado, built at 

periods of danger. But 

But the capital, < 




"Venice itself, was quite uuprotected. Tribune now directed 
his attention to remeciying this defect A strong 
jstle waa built at Olivolo, the eastern extremity, 
near the arsenal, and gave its name to the quarter of 
Castello. From Castello to the Piazza a wall ran along 
the line of the present Riva degli Schiavoni. The Piazza 
itself was surrounded by a woll. A great chain was 
stretched across the mouth of tlie grand canal. Prepara- 
tions were made for removing the posts which marked out 
the deep channels from the shoal waters. Large vessels, 
filled with stones, were sunk in the deeper waters to block 
them against any hostile fleet. Then the Venetians awaited 
the attack, in some trepidation, but still confident in the 
singular strength of their lagoon home. 

The Hungarians arrived at tlie south-west comer of the 
lagoon, and, following the same line as that selected by 
Pepin for his attack, they seized Brondolo and Chioggia. 
They pushed on as far as Albiola, the point reached by 
Pepin in 810. There, on the feast of S. Peter and 
S. Paul, the Venetians gave battle to the enemy, and 
defeated them so thoroughly that they ceased to be a 
danger to the Republic, Thus, for the third time, an attack 
on the lagoons demonstrated to the Venetians the impreg- 
nable natui'e of their sea-girt city, which neither Frank, nor 
Saracen, nor Hungarian had been able to violate. 

Pietro Tribune died, and was buried in S, Zaccaria. The 
popular choice fell once more on a member of the 
Particiaco family, Orso II, After the dread of the 
Hungarian invasion had rolled away, Venice enjoyed a period 
of greater peace than she had known for many years. It is 
worth recording that Orso was nicknamed Paurda, the timid. 
Whether it was owing to the Doge's timidity that Venice 
enjoyed this quiet, or whether the unwonted quiet led the 
people to believe that their Doge was timid, is uncertain. 
But they had no cause to r^ret such a fruitful growing- 
time. Venetian commerce steadily extended iipon the 
mainland. The Imperial diploma was renewed by Rudolph, 
and it contains oue highly interesting testimony to the 
spread of this commerce in the clause which conceded to 


Venice the right to coin money. No doubt the Venetians 
had possessed a mint in much earlier periods of their 
liistory ; in the reign of Karl, we hear that the State 
bound itself to pay a tribute in Venetian currency ; and the 
diploma of Budolph itself speaks of the ancient right by 
which the Doges struck their own coins. What the dause 
in this diploma really did was to give l^al currency to 
Venetian money in the markets of Italy. 

The Doge, Orso II., after a peaceful reign of twenty 
years, followed the example set by his relatives and prede- 
cessors, Giovanni and Orso; he abdicated and retired into 
a monastery. His successor was Pietro Candiano 
II., son of the Pietro Candiano who was slain while 
lighting the pirates near Zara. 

The people of Istria desired to enter on an alliance 
with the Venetians against their common enemy, the 
Dalmatian pirates. Their ambassadors arrived in Venice, to 
conclude a treaty; and as petitioners for a favour, they 
virtually admitted, in return, Venetian supremacy over the 
coast cities of Istria, by promising to pay a yearly tribute of 
one hundred amphone of their excellent Istrian wina These 
beginnings of Venetian lordship in Istria alarmed and 
irritated the Marquis Wintker, representative of the King of 
Italy in those parts. He confiscated all Venetian goods, 
seized all Venetian shipping, and forbade the Istrians to 
trade with the Republic. This would have entailed a 
serious war had the Doge not learned from his prede- 
cessors that Venetian commerce was so essential to all her 
neighbours, as to place at the disposal of the Eepublic a 
weapon, less costly and more efficient than an army or a 
fleet. The Doge retaliated on Wintker by declaring the 
isolation of the Istrian ports, and so rapid was the action of 
the blockade that Wintker was instantly obliged to beg the 
Patriarch of Grade to mediate between himself and the Doge. 
The Marquis was compelled to sign a treaty by which he 
gave the fuUest satisfaction to Venice, and secured her in all 
lier demands as regards Istria, where the Eepublic now became 
a factor of prime importance, and thus took her first step 
towards the establishment of her supremacy in the Adriatic. 



Two reigng of no great momeut covered the years 
from the death of Pietro Candiano in 939 to 959, 
Pietro, the last Doge of the Particiaco family, 
succeeded in 942 by Pietro Candiano III., who was 
able, for the third time, to prove the efficacy of a 
blockade, when he reduced Lupo, Patriarch of 
Aquileia, to own himself " a wicked man," and to swear 
that he would never more molest his neighbour of 
«* Graclo. 
The close of Pietro Candiano'a reign was embittered by 
the conduct of his son Pietro, whom he had associated with 
himself in the Dukedom, Pietro broke into open rebellion, 
the mob seized him, and hia life was only spared at the 
intercession of his ^ed father. Pietro was banished ; and 
the whole Venetian population bound themselves by a 
Bolemn oath never at any time to elect him as Doge. But 
no sooner had Pietro III. died than we find the 
outlawed son elected in liis place, and recalled to 
govern the State he had been doing his utmost to ruin by 
piracy on the Adriatic There is some difficulty in under- 
standing the meaning of the whole of this episode of Pietro 's 
rebellion, expulsion, and sudden return to favour. It is 
possible, however, that Pietro IV. was the people's candidate ; 
that in hia recall, upon which they insisted, and in his election, 
trhich was their work, we see an eflbrt on the part of the 
Venetian populace to assert itself in the choice of their 
chief magistrate. No doubt the populace of Venice had 
been growing in numbers and in power ; and the people 
was beginning to perceive that unless it insisted upon its 
rights, political power in the State would become stereotyped 
in the hands of a few leading families. And the recall and 
election of Pietro were the first indications of that struggle 
between the people and the aristocracy which was inevitable 
before Venice could assiune the rigidly oligarchical form which 
characterises her constitution. 

Pietro Candiano's foreign policy with West and East 
was fortunate in the one case and prudent in the 
other. Otho II. was maturing his plans for the reduc- 
tion of all Italy to his own ctown. He desired the 




assistance of Venice for this purpose, and, in order 
render the Venetians friendly, he renewed the 
Imperial diploma, and made it perpetual On the 
other hand, Candiano came into relations with a powerful 
ruler in Constantinople It is instructive to note the 
result of tliis upon the histor)' of Venice. Venice had 
only existed as an independent State, thanks to the weak- 
ness of the Eastern Empire, under the nominal protection 
of which she was enabled to develop upon her own lines. 
But the moment a powerful Emperor occupied the throne, 
the inherent weakness of the young State became apparent 
to itself. Venice was following the career of a purely 
commercial State, and therefore was indifferent to any 
considerations other than those of interest. Her instinct 
was to trade with peoples, not to fight with them. Accord- 
ingly she willingly entered into commercial rather than 
hostile relations with the Saracens. But the Emperor of 
the East, John Zimiskes, who had recently restored the 
Imperial prestige by his defeat of the Bulgars, was contem- 
plating an attack upon the Saracens. He was a powerful 
man ; a soldier with an army, and intended to be obeyed. 
His ambassador at Venice complained of the 
traffic which the Republic maintained with the 
enemies of Christendom, to whom they supplied arms 
even ships. He ordered that this trade should cease, and 
threatened, if disobeyed, to burn every Venetian ship he 
captured, cargo, crew and all. The Republic recognised that 
it was prudent to yield, and bound itself by oath to abandon 
its trade with the Paynim. 

The end of Pietro's life was a stormy one : he began 
his career by rebellion against his father : he ended 
by wrecking his life through his own ambition. Hi a con- 
duct led the Venetians to believe that he was ai min g 
at absolute sovereignty in the State. He repudiated his 
wife in order to make a wealthier and more conspicuous 
marriage with Hwalderada, sister of the Mai-tinis of Tuscany. 
who brought him a large dower of lands in Friuli, the 
Trevisnn marches, and the Ferrarese. He undertook wars, 
employing the forces of the State, in order to protect these 




private acquisitions. He filled the ducal palace with hired 
foreigners as guards. The accumulation of popular 
suspicion hroke out at last. The palace was sur- 
rounded, but the beaiegera were unable to force an entrance, 
owing to the resistance of the foreign garrison. Then some 
one in the crowd suggested that the wooden houses near 
the palace should be filled with pitch and set on fire. This 
was done. The flames soon spread to the galace. The 
Doge, unable to resist the heat and the smoke, endeavoured 
to escape by the door which led into S. Mark's Church. 
But he found the exit guarded by some Venetian nobles, 
his own relations ; to them he cried, " And ye too, my 
brothers, are ye too united against me for my destruction ? " 
But they rushed on him, felled him with axes, and "the 
sold of the Duke, leaving this prison-house of the body. 
Bought the threshold of the realms above," The Doge's 
child was slain in his nurse's arms. The bodies of father 
and son were thrown into a boat, and taken to the common 
slaughter-house, to be given to the dogs, had not one of the 
Gradenigo family rescued the remains and secured for them 
decent burial in the monastery of Sant' Ilario, near Fusina. 
The violent outburst which ended in the death of 
Pietro Candtano led to a quiet reign under his 
successor, Pietro Orseolo I. Hwalderada, widow of 
the murdered Doge, had sought the protection of the 
Emperor. Otbo II. He supported her claim for the 
restitution of her dowry, and Orseolo thought it wise to 
comply. But the sum was a large one ; and in order to 
meet this outlay the Doge summoned an assembly, which 
imposed a tax of one-tenth upou all incomes- — an event 
worthy of note as the earliest recorded instance in Venetian 
history of a direct tax levied upon every citizen, implying 
an assessment of all property in the State, which, unfortu- 
nately, has not come down to us. 

But the revolution which overthrew Pietro Candiano 
involved the Eepublic in expenses other than those entailed 
by the settlement of Hwalderada's claims. The fire which 
boined out Candiano and his guards, destroyed not only 
the ducal palace and S, Mark's Church, but also three 


hundred houses which stood between the Piazza and S. 
Maria Zobenigo. The Doge turned his attention to 
the restoration of these buildings. He brought 
workmen from Constantinople to cany out his designs. He 
devoted most of his private fortune to the new Basilica, for 
the protection and maintenance of which he created the first 
Procurators of S. Mark, an office which eventually became 
the most honourable in the State after the Dukedom itself. 

The faction of the Candiani was not content, however, 
to see the Dogeship remain out of its possession. Plots 
menaced the Doge's life, and there grew daily in him 
a desire to withdraw into monastic life. This desire 
was fostered, and came to a climax when a certain Fra 
Guarino arrived from Aquitaine. The Doge resolved to quit 
the world, but he dreaded the opposition of his people. He 
resolved to escape secretly. On the night of Ist September 
976 he left his palace, passed the lagoon to Fusina, found 
horses at Sant* Ilario, rode rapidly through North Italy, 
and reached the moneistery of S. Michele di Cusano in 
the Pyrenees, where twenty -nine years of pious life 
and religious exercises procured him the honours of 
canonisation. • 

The faction of the Candiani triumphed in the election 
of Vitale, brother of the murdered Pietro. But 
upon him too, as upon so many wearers of the 
ducal bonnet, there fell the disgust of life. After only 
fourteen months' reign Vitale retired to the monastery 
of Sant' Ilario, where he shortly died. 

In the reign of his successor. Tribune Memo, we reach 
a crisis in Venetian internal history, and close a 
period of her natural growth. It was in Memo's 
reign that family feuds burned up to their fiercest, and 
ended in an explosion which cleared the air and left the city 
comparatively free for the future. 

The rivalry of the Candiani and the Orseoli, a family 
which was desirous of making itself dynastic, as the Particiaehi 
and the Candiani had all but done, divided at least the 
wealthier and nobler families in Venice. Marriage con- 
nections bound the Doge to the Candiani, whose faction 

was championed by the family of Caloprini, while the 
opposite party was led by the family of Morosini. 
The Caloprini resolved on the destruction of the 
whole Morosini clan. They arranged their murderous 
de-sign for a certain day. They armed their relations, 
servants, dependants. But the Morosini were warned in 
time, and saved themselves by flight, all but one, Domenico 
Morosini, who was met by Stefano Caloprini in the square 
of S. Pietro di CastoUo, and stabbed so cruelly, that he 
almost instantly died of hia wounds. Thus the blood feud 
began, and it was not extinguished till the close of Tribuno 
Memo's reign. The murder of Domenico Morosini rendered 
Venice an insecure dwelling for all of the Caloprini 
£actioQ ; the Morosini were sworn to vendetta. Stefano 
Caloprini, the author of the crime, and his more powerful 
followers betook themselves to tlie Court of Otho II., who 
was then in no friendly mood towards Venice, on account 
of the assistance which the Republic had given to the 
Greeks in South Italy, thereby retarding his schemes for 
making his Italian kingdom actual and complete. Stefano 
was favourably received. He proposed that the Emperor 
should restore him and his party to Venice, and should make 
him Doge ; in return for Vhich Stefano promised to bring 
the Republic into feudal submission to the Empire. 
Otho listened wdlingly to the proposal, which coincided 
with his own schtimes in Italy, By his orders Venice 
was isolated from the mainland; communications were 
stopped, Stefano Caloprini and his traitorous companions 
undertook, from FaJua, Mestre, the Adige, and Ravenna, 
to make the blockade effectual The friends of the Calo- 
prini, still in Venice, were incited to revolt; and Cavarzere 
did submit to the Emperor. The Bishop of Eelluno 
invaded the territory of Grado and Caorle, Otho him- 
self prepared a fleet to assault the lagoons, or at least to 
complete the blockade by sea. The danger was extreme. 
Neither the invasion of Pepin nor of the Hungarians 
had threatened so seriously the existence of Venice. For 
among her enemies now were some of her own children — men 
who knew the secrets of the lagoons, and whose influence 



ioaide the city might, at any moment, create a treacherous 
rising against the Government. Under tlie exas- 
peration of this danger the Venetians attacked and 
razed to the ground the houses of the Caloprini, and held 
the women and cliildren as hostages. It is needless to 
conjecture what would have been the isaue of tlie attack. 
It never took place. Otho died at Eome in December 
983, The Calopviui suddenly saw themselves 
deprived of their sole support. They lost heart, 
and abandoned the attempt to return to Venice by force. 
They presented themselves before the Empress Adelaide 
at Pavia, and implored her intercession on their behalf. 
Adelaide consented to recommend the Caloprini to the 
Doge's clemency. She sent an embassy to Venice for this 
purpose, and the Doge, though unwilling and doubtful of 
the result, allowed the Caloprini to return to the lagoons. 
His suspicions were justified. The sight of the Caloprini 
recalled to the minds of all tlie Morosini clan the 
unavenged munler of Domenico. It was inevitable that 
more blood should be shed. One day, as three of the 
Caloprini were leaving the ducal palace and were about to 
enter their boat in order to go home, they were attacked 
and killed by some of the Mofoaini. Their bodies were 
recovered by a faithful servant, aud sent, as a bloody cry 
for vengeance, to their various families. It seemed as 
though a war of extermination between the two families 
must immediately break out. But the Venetians were 
weary of this private quarrel which had proved so perilous 
aud so exhausting to the community. Kightly or wrongly, 
they held the Doge to he responsible. They deposed him, and 
compelled him to take the monk's cowl in the monastery 
of S. Zacearia. A great man, Pietro Orseolo II., was 
called on to assume the guidance of tlie State. Under his 
rule a broader tract of Venetian history opens to our view, 
aud the murmur of these small but deadly private feuds is 
lost in the noise of a larger political conflict. 

1 of Teoico under Pielro Onroio II., Doge — ChrjBobol of the 
Empsror Buil — Venetian fleet — Commeruiid relatione with Italy ; willi 
the Saracens— A qoileia and Grado — The cUima of the Bishops of Belluno 
■nd Trenso — Venice opens factories along the Sile and Fisve — Com- 
ntercial policy of Oraealo — 'War nitb Dalmatian pirates — Duke of 
Daltnatia — The inn>ortance o( Venetiati supremacy in Dolmnlia — 
The commemoratire oeremooy of the Spoialkio del JUar — Otho III. 
riaits Venice — -Venice aaaista the Qreelcs besieged in BaK — Onteolo'a son 
marries a niece of the Emperor Basil — The plague in Venice— Death of 
Orseolo — Olho Onailo, Doge — Op^josition to the dynastic tendency of the 
Orseoli — Orao Orauolo of Grado and Foppo of Aquileia — Flight of the 
Doge and liia brother Orso— Loss of Grado —The Doge recalled : recovers 
Qndo ; liepoaed— iWro Ceatranico, Doge — Faction femia- Dalinatia 
reaounces alle^iotiee — Poppo of Ai^uJleio — Tlie Doge deposed — Domenka 
Flabaiiico, Doge — The end of the dynastic tendency in the Dogeahip — 
The Orseoli ostracised— Limitations lo the power of the Doge— The 
Coruiglitri Dvatti — The beginnings of the Fregadt or Senate — Domenico 
Coniarini, Doge — Hia quiet reign — The Patriarch of Grado removea to 
\'enice— Amieiiico Sctvo, Doge- Ceremony of election- Venice and the 
NonnaDS — Siege of Durazio — Growth of luxury — Decoration of S. Mark's 
— VUaU FalitT. Doge— ^Naral resources of Venice— Death of Robert of 
Normandy — Privileges fruin the Emperor Alexius^Ascendency in Con- 
■tanlinople — Rediscoveiy of S. Mark's tomb. 

Danger and confusion characterise the period from which 
Venice had just emerged. Three times the lagoons 
' were threatened by invasion — once by the Saracens, 

once by the Hungarians, and once by the treacherous Calo- 
prini, supported by the Emperor Otho. This season of 
attack from outside was also the epoch of burning family 
feuda. But now both dangers were safely overcome ; and 
the confidence and vigour acquired in the struggle made 
themselves felt in the great expansion of the Republic, which 
took place in the reign of Pietro Orseolo II. 


The Doge's attention was at once drawn to questions 
of commercial policy. The inherent commercial 
instinct of the Venetians asserted itself the moment 
it was free to choose its own course. The Chrysobol, or 
Golden Bull, granted by the Emperor Basil, contained 
privileges for Venetian merchants far in excess of any they 
had hitherto enjoyed in the East. By the terms of the 
Bull, Venetian traders were admitted to a customs tarifiF 
more favourable than that imposed upon other merchants ; 
it was stipulated, however, that they were not to carry as 
Venetian goods the property of Lombards, Amalfitans^ or 
Jews ; their cargoes were to be hoiui fde Venetian cargoes. 
Subjects of the Doge were placed directly under the jurisdic- 
tion of the logothetes or Secretary of Finance, and were thus 
freed from the vexatious delays and annoyances of the 
inferior local courts, and brought into direct relations with the 
Emperor liimself ; for, from the days of Led the Isaurian, the 
Emperors had virtually been their own finance ministers, 
and the logothetes, under whose supervision the Venetians 
were now placed, was one of the most prominent ofl&cers of 
the Imperial household. In return for these privileges the 
Venetian fleet was to be held at the disposition of the 
Emperor for the transport of troops. It was the power and 
excellence of her fleet which gave to Venice that com- 
manding position which she was rapidly acquiring, and 
enabled her to secure commercial advantages to which no 
other maritime state could pretend. 

On the Italian mainland commercial policy presented 
a somewhat different problem for the Doge. The power of 
an Emperor who was not only a foreigner but continually 
absent, could never be very great. At this moment, moreover, 
the Emperor, Otho III., was a minor. For all practical pur- 
poses Orseolo found himself obliged to deal directly with the 
small semi-independent princes, feudatories of the Empire. 
This he did. He concluded separate treaties with each of 
these, though he did not omit to secure from the Emperor 
the ratification of the treaties by a diploma, which was 
signed at Mlilhausen in 992. 

Nor did the commercial activity of the Doge cease 


with these opemtions in the East and West. The trading 
instinct of the people he governed overrode con- 
siderations of religion, and the requirements of 
Imperial policy in either East or West. The foes of the 
two Empires were not necessarily the foes of the Venetians. 
They had learned hy experience that a possible Saracenic 
invasion of the lagoons was not a very serions danger ; whereas 
the Saracens, if enemies on the open sea, were able materially 
to injure Venetian commerce; more could be gained by 
Uadiag with them than by fighting them. The real and great 
danger to the Eastern Empire and to Italy was of small 
moment to Venice ; while friendly commercial relations with 
the Saracens opened up an immense field for trade in Egypt. 
on the coast of Africa, in Spain, and in Sicily. Accordingly 
the Doge put the eoping-stoue to his commercial policy hy 
concluding a treaty with the pajTiim foes of East and West. 
It seemed as though Venice was now about to enter on a 
period of undisturbed prosperity. That was not to be. She 
soon found herself called upon to face new difficulties and 
complications ; thougli out of these she succeeded in drawing 
aliment for her major impulse, tlie development of herself 
as an independent and purely commercial State. 

Ecclesiastical jealousy of the new Patriarchate of Grado 

was always ready to burst out at any moment when the 

mainland suffragans of the older See of Aquileia found 

support from an Emperor or his repi-eaetitatives. During 

the period of Otho II.'s hostility to Venice, the Bishops of 

BeUuno and Treviso had seized certain territories on the 

mainland, over which the Venetians claimed superiority. 

They refused to withdraw. The Doge appealed to Otho III., 

who sent a commissioner to settle the dispute. He did so 

I in favour of the Republic. The Bishops ignored liis decision. 

' The Doge then summoned a general assembly, and decreed 

I the commercial isolation of the whole See of BeUuno. This 

J meant that the Bellunese were no longer able to draw their 

supplies from the seaport nearest to their home, and that 

they were deprived of the best market for their meat, their 

I butter, and their wood. Meantime Otho himself had entered 

I Italy. He at once showed his strong sympathy with Venice ; 


and, faced by this combination of a ruinous blockade with 
Imperial disfavour, the Bishops of Belluno and 
Treviso submitted. But the Doge exacted not 
merely the restitution of the stolen territory ; he demanded, 
and obtained through the Imperial support, the right ^ 
to erect Venetian warehouses for goods, and to open 
Venetian markets on the continent, upon the banks of the 
rivers Sile and Piave, whose waters gave easy access to 
Venetian vessels. Continuing this policy of extending 
Venetian influence on the Italian mainland, and laying, 
though perhaps unconsciously, the foundations of the 
Venetian land empire, by means of Venetian factories and 
marts, the Doge rented from the Bishop of Ceneda a castle on 
the river Livenza, and thereby brought the Venetian merchants 
into immediate connection with the German traders who came 
down into Italy by the Ampezzo route. Somewhat later, in 
the year 1001, a further extension of privileges was obtained 
from the Bishop of Ceneda. The Venetians opened another 
factory in that See ; they were exempt from all dues upon 
imports passing through the diocese, and they were relieved 
from all taxation on salt. In the same year the Doge 
undertook to farm a third of the revenues which belonged 
to the Bishopric of Treviso. 

It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of 
Orseolo's commercial policy. In him the spirit of Venice 
speaks out. We seem to see the young State, now for the 
first time in its life, giving signs of a conscious purpose and 
tendency of its own. And concessions of such moment, 
wrung from hostile neighbours, are a proof that Venice had 
the power, no less than the will, to achieve her aim, and to 
make her object of desire an accomplished fact Free com- 
mercial intercourse with Venice was rapidly becoming an 
absolute necessity for the mainlanders. She was at once the 
emporium and the market of all the neighbouring cities, and 
therefore held them virtually at discretion. She steadily 
extended her commercial influences in Italy, absorbing the 
trade of the continent, and planting her merchants first 
where her arms were presently to follow. 

These bloodless triumphs were not the sole glory of 



Orseolo's r 


a. The Dalmatian pii-ates continued to be a 
e of unmitigated aonoyauce to Venetian com- 
merce, Venice had never succeeded ia subduing, nor 
even in curbing, their licence. She had, iu fact, attempted to 
buy them off by paying black-mail in the form of a yearly 
tribute, Oraeolo, however, believed himself strong enough 
now to face the evil. He suspended the aunual tribute. The 
pirates renewed their molestations. An expedition was sent to 
the Dalmatian coast, which took and destroyed the 
town of Lissa, but left the headquarters of the pirates, 
Narenta, uninjured. When the Venetian squadron withdrew, 
the Narentines vented their fury on the defenceless population 
of the Dalmatian shore. These, in despair of obtaining auy 
help from their superior the Eastern Emperor, turned to 
seek the protection of the only neighbour powerful enough to 
afford it. The Doge summoned his council; that is to say, 
in all probability, not the Concia, or genei-al assembly of the 
whole population, but those more prominent citizens whom, 
as we shall presently see, the Doge was in the habit of 
inviting to assist him in imiwrtant deliberatious. The result 
was that the Doge resolved to undertake the absolute 
suppression of the Narentines. And Venice prepared for 
the first great war on which she embarked as an inde- 
pendent State on her own account. 

Every care was taken to make the expedition a powerful 
one, and to ensure success. When all was ready, 
on 6th May, Ascension Day, 1000,^ the Doge and Lis 
officers went to hear mass in the church of San I'ietro di 
CasteUo. The Bishop of Olivolo presented to the Duke a 
consecrated standard ; and the same day, with a fair west 
wind, the whole fleet set sail, and passing out by the Lido 
port, came that evening to Grado. TJie Patriarch, in solemn 
«ion, surrounded by his clergy, moved down to meet 
the Doge, who was thou conducted into the cathedral, where 
he received a second standard from the Metropolitan. Leav- 
ing Grado the fleet sailed to Istria, touching at Parenzo, and 
thence passed down the coast to Zara. At Zara negotiations 
with the Narentines were commenced. Certain terms, among 
' Chronache Aidiekiuiiiit, edit, Monticolo, p. 158, n, 1. 




them the cessation of the annual tribute and a pledge not 
to infest the Adriatic, were accepted by the enemy; 
the object of the expedition seemed to be accom- 
plished. But the Doge had no sooner set his course towards 
Venice, than the pirates took up arms again. Then Orseolo 
resolved to strike a decisive blow. Leaving his moorings 
at Zara Vecchia, he made himself master of Curzola, and 
advanced towards the great stronghold of Lagosta, which 
was thought to be impregnable. The Narentines seemed 
inclined to yield ; but when tliey learned that the Venetians, 
if victorious, intended to raze the city to the ground, they 
prepared for resistance to the death. The assaidt was given. 
The Venetians and friendly Dalmatians swarmed up the 
precipitous rocks on which the city walls were built. Many 
were hurled back. Some succeeded in reaching and mastering 
a tower by breaching its base. Through the opening thus 
caused in the defences, the Venetians poured into the city ; 
the mhabitants were put to the sword, and in a short time the 
pirates* most formidable stronghold was levelled to the ground 

The Doge's return home was a triumphal progress. The 
Dalmatian coast towns recognised him as Duke of Dalmatia. 
He left their civic constitutions undisturbed, exacting merely 
a nominal tribute in token of Venetian supremacy. Venice 
received Orseolo with every demonstration of joy. In a 
general assembly of his people, the Doge explained his 
conduct, gave an account of his operations, and received a 
confiraiation of his new title, " Duke of Dalmatia." 

Apart from the suppression of piracy, the Dalmatian 
war of Pietro Orseolo II. was an event of prime importance 
in the history of Venice. Though Dalmatia did not at once 
l^ecome a part of Venetian territory, yet its towns now acknow- 
ledged Venetian lordship ; and a most important step had been 
taken towards the supremacy of the Eepublic in the Adriatic. 
More than this, Venetian merchants were now able to open 
warehouses in the Dalmatian sieaports, such as Zara, where 
they could store all the merchandise that came from the 
interior, the valleys of the Save and the Drave. The 
danger that the city of Venice might be starved into a sur- 
render was considerably reduced. The seaboard of Dalmatia 



could always supply food material which was lacking 
in the lagoons ; all tliat Venice had to do was to 
keep open the sea-route between the lagoons and the 
Dalmatian coast. Finally, the possession of Curzola, so richly 
wooded, freed the Venetians from dependence on the forests 
of the mainland for their house and sliiphuilding timber. 

It is not surprising that the Venetians should have 
resolved to commemorate the day on which Orseolo sailed 
upon this glorious expeilition. The form which this 
commemoration took was that of a solemn procession 
from Venice out into the opeu sea by the Lido port. The 
ceremony was one of supplication and placation ; the formula 
in earliest use consisted in the prayer, " Grant, Lord, that 
for us, and for all who sail thereon, the sea may be calm and 
'[uiet ; this is our prayer. Lord, hear us." After which the 
Doge and his suite were aspersed, and the rest of the water 
was poured into the sea, while the priests chanted the words, 
" I'urge me with hyssop, and I shall he clean." Such was the 
cereniouy in its primitive form. In later years it developed 
into the magnifioent function, so faiuoua and so well known 
as the Sposa/izw del Mar. In all probability there was a 
double nieaniug in the obsen-ance. Tlie Venetians desired to 
assert solemnly the result of their past experience, tliat they 
and the sea on which they lived were inseparably one ; and 
secondly, by a purification of themselves and tlie rejection 
of their sins, symbolised by the aspersion and by the 
reversion of the water into the sea, they desired to render 
that element propitious. 

The successes of the Dalmatian expedition were soou 
followed by another proof of Venetian growth. The 
Emperor, Otho til., desired to make the acquaintance 
of the man who had read such a lesson to the Narentine 
pirates. For this purpose he seized the occasion when he 
found himself at Pomposa, near Ravenna, to plead an excuse, 
and to reach Venice almost incognito. He met tlie Doge at 
San Servolo, and passed thence into the city. lie was lodged 
in the eastern tower of the ducal palace. He visited the 
monuments of Venice, and acted as godfather to one of the 
Doge's children. But this mysteriou? visit of the Emperor 



was not a visit of mere curiosity. There is little doubt 
that he desired to enlist the sympathy of the Ee- 
public for his ambitious designs in Italy, and his 
presence in the lagoon city must be taken as a tribute to 
the position which Venice had now acquired. 

From the East, too, came other demonstrations of the 
same high reputation. The Doge was invited to 
assist the Greek Governor, who was confined by the 
Saracens in the city of Bari. He manned a fleet and sailed 
to the relief of the besieged city. In a very short time he 
succeeded in raising the blockade of the port, and introduced 
a copious supply of provisions. The Doge then organised a 
sortie. The battle lasted for three days; but during the 
night of the third day the Saracens silently struck camp 
and withdrew, leaving the city of Bari, whose gratitude to 
Oraeolo knew no bounds, uncaptured and free. Nor was 
the joy at Constantinople inferior. The Doge was invited 
to send his son, Giovanni, to the capital. There he was 
received with almost royal honours. He was created 
Patrician, and wedded to the niece of the Emperor Basil. 
On his return to Venice, Giovanni and his bride were again 
the object of popular demonstrations, which were renewed 
on the birtli of a son. Fortune seemed to smile on 
the family of Orseolo. But the rapidly growing traflic with 
the East brought in its train one of the curses which the 
East has never failed to send westward. The plague 
appeared in Venice. It WTought the greatest havoc, carry- 
ing off the Doge's son, his daughter-in-law, and grandson, 
besides a vast number of the people. Nor was this all. 
Famine followed the plague. Yet so attached were 
the Venetians to their Doge, so mindful of the glory and 
the prosperity which he had secured, that, far from laying 
the blame for their misfortunes at his door, as they certainly 
would have done had he been impopular, they endeavoured 
to console him by electing another son as Doge Consort. 
But the Doge was inconsolable; the loss of his son and 
his grandson dealt too severe a blow. Though quite a 
young man, only forty-eight years old, he was already 
broken by the activities, the campaigns, the diplomatic 

burdens, the losses of his reign. No doubt he bad a tinge 
of that religious spirit wliich drove his predecessor 
and relation, Pietro OrseoJo I., to seek the shelter of a 
monastery in distant Aquitaine ; he took less and less part 
in the direction of affairs ; he prepared his will ; he separated 
himself from his wife and led a clausttal existence within 
the ducal palace. But not for long. He died in 1008, 
after eighteen and a half yeai'S of the most splendid 
and successful Dogesliip that Venice had yet seen. 
Pietro Orseolo II. was succeeded by his son Otho, who 
was married to a daughter of the King of Hungary, and 
was godson of the Emperor Otho. The house of Orseolo 
now held by far the most prominent position in the 
Piepublic. The Doge, the Patriarch of Grado, the Bishop of 
Torcello, all belonged to the same family. This preponder- 
ance of one house aroused the old dread of dynastic policy 
on the part of the Doge, and led to the downfall of the 
Orseoli, and a modification in the ducal position. The 
crisis was brought about by no imprudence of the Doge 
himself. He, indeed, niaiutained the prestige of Venice, 
which his father had done so much to create. He reduced 
the Bishop of Adria when he endeavoured to usurp 
the territories of Loreo and Fossone, and compelled 
him to sue in pei-son for peace. He was successful against 
the Croats, whom he was obliged to attack in fulfilment of 
hia duties as protector of Dalmatia. But no successes could 
check the inevitable course of popular feeling against the 
Orseolo family. The opposition grew daily in strength and 
in audacity. That a change was imminent the Doge himself 
was well aware. It was only a question how the blow 
would fall. 

Orso Orseolo, brother of the Doge, was Patriarch of 
Grado. His neighbour of Aquileia was a German, Poppo, 
a man of warlike instincts, more a soldier than a priest. 
Poppo determined to reopen the question of the rights of 
Aquileia over the See of Grado. It is probable that he was 
supported by the anti-Orseolo faction in Venice. However 
that may be, both the Doge and his brother the Patriarch 
saw such serious cause for alarm that they left Venice and 


fled to Istria, Poppo, under pretence of protecting the 
vacant See, begged leave to enter Grado with his 


troops, promising that the occupation should be 
peaceful But he was no sooner in possession of the town 
than he surrendered it to the violence of his soldiers. He 
seized the treasure and the more precious relics, and 
returned with them to Aquileia, after placing a garrison in 
the half-ruined city. 

The loss of Grado was a blow which Venice could not 
patiently endure. From the ecclesiastical point of view 
it was absolutely necessary for the Eepublic that she should 
have a Patriarch of her own, independent of the rulers of 
the mainland. The submission of Grado to Aquileia violated 
tlie strongest instinct of the lagoon population, their deter- 
mination to be independent. The party of the Orseoli 
pointed to the fall of Grado as the result of hostility to the 
Doge. The fugitive Duke was recalled from Istria, entered 
Venice, and immediately placed himself at the head of an 
expedition which recovered and refortified Grado. 

But the episode of Grado did not check the general 
current of feeling in Venice, that still ran counter to 
the dynastic tendency which the Orseoli were supposed 
to represent. The attitude of the Venetians was still as it 
had always been. They would not brook foreign interfer- 
ence, nor would they endure domestic sovereignty. A fresh 
pretext was soon offered when Doge Otho insisted on nominat- 
ing to the See of Olivolo, a young lad, a Gradenigo, still in 
his teens. The Doge was seized, his beard shaved, and 
himself banished to Constantinople. 

The reign of Otho Orseolo had been a long one, and not 
inglorious ; but the party opposed to his family and 
to its dynastic tendency, had gained the upper hand. 
On the expulsion of the Orseoli, Pietro Centranico became 
Doge. The Orseoli, however, still had friends in the city, and 
the Republic was soon made to feel that the recent successes of 
the State had been due, in a very large degree, to the ability 
and personal prestige of the race it had expelled. Faction 
feuds inside the city broke . out once more, and weakened 
the power of Venice. The Dalmatian cities renounced their 




allegiance, which was of service only so long as Venice 
reinained strong. Tiie confirmatiou of the Imperial 
diplomawas refused by Conrad. The Eastern Emperor 
was a relation of the Oraeoli, and therefore hostile. I'oppo of 
Aqiiileia obtained from the Pope a declaration that the See of 
Grado was subject to his Patriarchate. Such a series of dis- 
asters alienated the sympathy of the wliole population. A 
violent, though brief, reaction in favour of the Oraeoli took 
place. Centranico was deposed, shaved, and sent to Constanti- 
nople as a pledge of sincerity, along with the embassy which 
the Republic commissioned to invite Otho Oraeolo to return. 
But Otho was dead. Orso, his brother, held the regency for 
fourteen months, at the close of which period the popular 
choice fell upon Domenieo Flabianico, 

With the elevation of Flabianico to the ducal tlirone 
came the final triumph of the anti-dynastic principle 
: the development of the Dogeship. Like every 
important stage in the growth of the Venetian constitution, 
, the result was reached only after a long series of experi- 
i, entiiiiliug, as we have seen, conataut revolutions inside 
the State. From the foundation of the Dukedom down to the 
year 1032, family after family had endeavoured to establish 
an hereditary claim to the throne. This tendency is visible 
even before the capital of the lagoons was removed to Itialto. 
It is apparent in the family of Galbaio, for example. But 
after Pepin's repulse and the concentration at Kialto, the 
tendency becomes more and more obvious, and forms one of 
the chief threads in Venetian history. We find the Parti- 
ciachi, the Candiani, the Oraeoli, all attempting to create 
a dynasty in their own families ; and all of them defeated 
by that passionate instinct in the Venetian people which 
found expression in the phrase, "We did not come here to 
live under a lord." 

lu the general survey of this struggle to construct a 
dynastic Uogeship, one point is worthy of special notice. 
It is a point which distinguishes Venetian history from that of 
most other Italian cities. Why, it may be asked, did no one 
of these ambitious families succeed in establishing itself on the 
throne by the help of some extraneous power ? The attempt 


was, in fact, made twice in Venetian history. Once when 

Obelerio admitted the suzerainty of Karl, and received 


his orders as to the government of the lagoons ; and 
again, when the Caloprini, m exile, offered, as the price of 
their restoration, to hold Venice for the Emperor Otho. But 
there was one insuperable difficulty in the way ; the lagoons 
were impregnable. The Venetian people were resolved to be 
free : and before an army favourable to a dynastic pretender 
could have reached the heart of the lagoons, they would 
have risen and deposed or slain the Doge who should have 
dared to violate the tacit agreement that Venice was never 
to be made subject to any lord ; the foreigner, on his arrival, 
if he ever could have arrived, would have found no one to 
support. In short, the lagoons saved Venice from domina- 
tion by any foreign master ; and they also materially assisted 
to prevent any Venetian from making himself supreme 
through foreign aid; while the instinct of the Venetians 
precluded him from founding a dynasty in any other way. 

The reign of Domenico Flabianico is important chiefly 
from the constitutional side. His election marked the climax 
of reaction against the Orseoli and the dynastic tendency. The 
whole of that family was ostracised, debarred in perpetuity 
from holding any oftice in the State. The democratic move- 
ment, which was represented by the new Doge, proceeded still 
farther. Two laws, tending to limit the powers of the Doge, 
and to define his position, were proposed and adopted. 
The first rendered the election of a Doge Consort ill^aL 
But the Doge, single-handed, was unable to cope with all 
the affairs of the growing. State. And this consideration 
led to the second proposal, in which we find the germ of 
two most important departments in the machinery of the 
Venetian constitution. Two ConsHgluri Ducali, or privy 
councillors, were now appointed to assist the supreme magis- 
trate in the discharge of his duties ; and the Doge was now 
obliged, not merely recommended, to invite {pregare) the 
more prominent citizens to lend him their aid in discussing 
momentous affairs of State, thereby laying the foundations 
of that branch of the legislature which was subsequently 
known as the Pregadi, or Senate. 



Flabianico was succeeded by Domenico Contarini, whose 
long reign of twenty-eight years has left no im- 
portant tra<;e upon Venetian history. Perhaps the 
State waa settling down and enjoying its repose after the 
excititig and stormy period of the Orseoli. At all events, 
the Venetians took no part in the affairs of Italy or of the 
East. The Doge was compelled once to assert Venetian 
Bupremacy over Dalmatia ; but, for the rest, even such a 
Stirring event as the Norman invasion left Venice undis- 
turbed. The point of most moment for the Republic was 
the fact that the perpetual incuraions and ravages of the 
leatless Patriarch Poppo had so destroyed the city of 
Grado that, in spite of Pope Benedict's confirmation of its 
independence, the Patriarch could no longer live there. 
He removed his palace, though not his title, from (irado 
to Venice. 

A contemporary account of the election of Domenico 
Selvo, who followeil Contarini on the throne, shows 
that the ceremony was a popular one, that the choice 
of the chief magistrate was still the work of the whole 
"Venetian people. The entire population of Venice assembled 
in their boats near tlie church of S. Pietro di Castello. The 
Sishop of Olivolo, surrounded by his clei^y, offered up 
prayers for the safety of the State, and for guidance in the 
ihoice of a ruler. Then the people began to shout the 
jtiame of their favourite, " It is Domenico Selvo we desire 
'and approve." The choice in this case seems to have been 
itinanimous, and the new Doge was seized and carried on the 
-shoulders of the crowd down to the boats. Selvo at once 
took off bis stockings, in sign of humility, and was rowed to 
the Piazza, while the Te Detun was chanted by the clergy. 
He entered the church of S. Mark, barefooted, and, prostrat- 
ing himself on the ground, he returned thanks. He then 
ireceived the baton of office, and passed into the courtyard 
of the ducal palace, where the people tendered to him the 
oath of allegiance. 

During the reign of Selvo the Eepiiblic once more took 

part in the general current of history. The Venetians 

1>ecame involved in the struggles between the Normans and 


the Eastern Empire. Robert Guiscard had passed over from 
Italy to the eastern shores of the Adriatic, and had 
laid siege to Durazzo. Alexius, the Emperor, in 
alarm, turned at once to Venice. He begged the Republic 
to send a fleet in succour of Durazzo ; he made offers of 
abundant recompense in case of success ; and in any event, he 
guaranteed to the Venetians the cost of the expedition. Tlie 
Republic accepted the terms. The Doge himsdf conducted a 
large and powerful fleet to Durazzo, which, under the guidance 
of George Paleologus, was making a stout resistance. When 
the Venetians appeared on the scene, Robert Guiscard 
endeavoured to induce them to abandon Alexius. But the 
Republic held firm by its ancient alliance and to its tradi- 
tional policy of supporting the Eastern Emperor, distant and 

The battle in the harbour proved favourable to the 
Venetians, thanks to their able tactics and skilled seaman- 
ship ; thanks also to the device of great weights, rove up to 
the yardarms and then let go suddenly as the enemy's ships 
closed in, a weapon which sent many of the Norman ships 
to the bottom. Durazzo was relieved on the sea side and 
})rovisioned. The land side was still held by the enemy. 
But the imprudence of Alexius cancelled the advantage 
gained by the Doge. The Emperor arrived with an army, 
and, in spite of warning, insisted on offering battle. A 
ruinous defeat was the result. The Venetians and the 
Greeks suffered alike. The Normans closed round the city 
once more, and it presently fell into their hands. The 
alliance with Alexius proved still more disastrous to the 
Republic. A second attempt to master the Normans led 
to a crushing defeat. The Doge found his policy repudiated 
by Venice, and he was deposed. 

But though Selvo left beliind him no reputation for 
success, his reign made an indelible impression upon the 
manners of the Venetians. Selvo had married a Greek 
wife, whose luxury, if we are to believe the chroniclers, 
gave great offence to the hardy, and probably uncivilised, 
people among whom her lot was cast : artifidosa voluptate 
sc mulcebat, they say of her; they tell of her scents and 


I perfumes, her baths of dew, her odoriferous gloves and 
dresses ; they charge her with using a fork at meala ; 
they like to ascribe lier loathsome death to lier 
I inordinate effeminacy. No doubt there is great exagger- 
iatiou in the whole narrative. But it certainly indicates the 
p£rst appearance of Eastern refinements and luxury among 
& people who had liitherto retained the primitive habits of 
their fisher ancestry. The same sumptuous tendency mani- 
fested itself in Selvo'a great operations upon the church of 
»S. Mark. " He began," says a clironicler, " to work in mosaic. 
He sent to all parts to seek out marbles and precious 
Stones, and to find master- masons to carry out his large and 
marvellous designs in masonry." Every ship that returned 
from the East was ordered to bring its share of the 
material required to make the Basilica of S. Mark worthy 
I of the saint and the Republic he protected. 

Domenico Selvo was succeeded by Vitale Falier, while 
"Venice was still smarting under the defeat inflicted 
■ujmn her by Eobert of Normandy. The new 
Doge turned his attention to retrieving this disgrace. It 
s a proof of the vast naval resources of the Republic that, 
irithin so short a time of such a crushing disaster, she was 
ible to eqiiip as powerful a fleet as that which Falier 
eommanded, when he sailed to meet the Normans. In 
biis campaign the Venetians were not acting without the 
consent and approval of Alexius. Indeed, it would seem 
Aat the terms of remuneration, in case of victory, liad 
jen settled before the Venetians put to sea. They met 
Bobert in the waters of Corfu, and obtained a victory, 
Ehough not a decisive one. But they were saved from 
^ther encounters with the Nomians by the death of 
lie King in the year 1085. Whatever may have been 
She precise value of their victory, Alexius acknow- 
ledged his obligation to pay the stipulated price. His 
Solden Bull bestowed upon the Doge the title of Proto- 
bebostos ; the Venetians were to enjoy free access to all 
harbours of the Empire, were to be exempt from customs, 
aad, most important of all, they acquired certain lands, 
factories, and warehouses in Constantinople itself, round 



which they formed a Venetian quarter and a Venetian 
colony. The Emperor imposed upon all the Amal- 
fitani who traded in the Imperial city, a tribute to 
be paid towards the building of S. Mark's. This provision 
of the Golden Bull is noteworthy, for it shows that the 
Venetians were beginning to take the place of one great 
maritime town of Italy, Amalfi, which might have proved 
a •serious rival in Eastern commerce. But precisely at the 
moment when this competitor received so palpable a check, 
the rumour of sanguinary battles between Pisa and Genoa 
presaged that more formidable rivalry, that crueller and 
more costly struggle which was to accomplish the ruin of 
two among the great ItaUan maritime repubHcs. 

Falier's reign was closed by an event which gave 
sincere satisfaction to the Venetians. The sepulchre of 
their patron, S. Mark, whose body had been brought to 
Venice in the reign of Agnello Particiaco, was no longer 
known. The great fire in the reign of Candiano IV., and 
the continual alteration of the Basilica, had completely 
obliterated all traces of the saint's resting-place. The Doge 
ordered a solemn triduan fast and prayer. Then, 
as all the people knelt in silence, S. Mark made 
known his tomb by thrusting forth his arm from a pillar in 
whose shaft he had been hid, and by filling the church with 
a most delicious odour. The sacred body was deposited 
afresh in the crypt of the Basilica. The religious sentiment 
of the Venetians was satisfied, while their pockets felt the 
benefit from the vast numbers of visitors who flocked from 
the mainland in pilgrimage to the miraculous sepulchre. 

The Doge died in 1096, and was buried in S. Mark, 
where his sarcophagus may still be seen. 



The developroant of Venice aa a State— Independence secured liy the lagooDB 
— No feudal system — Rssiilta of this — Coinniercs — Few iuduatriaB — 
Exchange mart — Can'yiug trade — Shipbuilding — Navy — CollBtitution, 
domooratie — Judicial system. 

We have reached the period at which Venice was about to 
be drawn into the great current of history by the 
part she was called on to play in crusades. 
The previous course of events Lad been surely prepar- 
■ing this rfile for her. The display of her naval resources, 
which the Norman wars had evoked, called the attention of 
the Pope, of both Emperors, of all Europe, to that comer 
the Adriatic, to that small city of the lagoons, which 
able to put upon the sea two such fleets as the one 
'hich was crushed at Oasopo, and the one which was 
Tictorious at Corfu. 

It is convenient at this moment to consider how Venice 
was equipped to take part in those events which were to 
laDnch her on her career as a great maritime and com- 
Biercial power. 

Thanks to the advantages of her geographical position, 
'to the impregnability of the lagoons, to the hardy valour 
ef the Venetian people, and to the weakness of both 
,em and Western Empire, Venice succeeded iu remaining 
vii^ city. She had never fallen into the hands of any 
As far as external interruptions were concerned, 
"Venice was, therefore, permitted to pursue her own course 
independently. The Venetians were able, by experiment, to 
discover the line of development which was marked out for 
them by their own inherent qualities. Their evolution, aa 


a State, was never crossed by the compulsion of a foreign 
master, pursuing his own ends regardless of the 
desires and aims of those subjected to him. 

On the other hand, internally, this impregnability of 
the lagoons saved Venice from the violence done to the 
cities of the mainland. No feudal system, with its arbitrary 
division of classes, breaking the city up into sections which 
were generically different, was ever imposed upon Venice. 
She did not suffer the misfortune of finding her population 
more bitterly divided against itself than unitedly hostile to 
external foes. In spite of all internal ferment, Venice 
remained homogeneous. Patriotism was possible. The course 
of her development naturally produced struggles between 
the component parts of the community; but these were 
always family quarrels, the growing pains of the youthful 
State. The result was accepted by alL No Venetian 
ceased to be a Venetian because his party suffered defeat 
Except in the case of the Caloprini, Venice was not 
exposed to the danger, so common in other Italian States, of 
seeing a mass of exiled citizens, hanging round her borders, 
ready to return and to tear down a hated government It is 
this fact which enabled the Eepublic to achieve a stable 
constitution, while the rest of Italy was in the throes of con- 
tinual revolution. Thanks to this happy disposition, Venetian 
history, from the opening of the fourteenth century onwards, 
presents that singular immunity from internal rebellion which 
made her constitution the wonder and the envy of eveiy 
Italian Eepublic. Moreover, this radical difference renders 
any attempt at comparison, any deduction from analog}', 
between Venice and other Italian States difficult and even 
misleading. Venice, in short, was not Italian, she was unique. 

As a result of this life-giving independence, Venice 
steadily developed her commercial importance, her naval 
l)ower, and her domestic constitution. 

Her commercial growth already showed the lines upon 
which it was destined to continue. Industries were small 
and unimportant, consisting chiefly in the making of salt, 
the salting of fish, the manufacture of wooden cups, ladles, 
spoons, saucers, such as may be met with any day in the 


streets of modern Venice, where they are now brought from 
the Alps beyond Belluno. Her main branches of 
commercial activity were already, as always after- 
wards, her exchange mart and her carrying trade, Venice 
had become the great emporium, where the produce of many 
lands was stored, and whence it was redistributed throughout 
the continent. Wine and grain came from Apulia ; wood from 
Dalmatia ; gems and drugs from Asia ; metal-work, silk, and 
doth of gold from Constantinople and Greece. We hear of 
Venetian merchants carrying this varied merchandise, this 
it traiismarinis pariibus orientalimn divUias, to the fairs 
~Rt Pavia, and to the markets of Eavenna and of Rome. We 
have already noted the wide sweep of Venetian commerce ; 
how upon the mainland they opened factories and ware- 
houses along the rjvera which come down from the Alps, 
Bud by the side of the great toads which led into Germany ; 
how they spread down the coast of Dalmatia, with stores at 
Zara, and Venetian officers to protect Venetian interests ; 
how they obtained from the Emperor Alexius a q^uarter, with 
shops and market-place, in Constantinople itself. 

To feed this great emporium a large fleet of merchant 
men was constantly employed. These ships freighted, not 
merely for Venetian merchants ; they carried cargoes for 
.Jews, Lombards, Amalfitani. And with the spread of the 
carrying trade came the need for a strong navy to guard the 
xnerchant vessels from piracy, though no doubt the merchant 
erews and ships were themselves capable of fighting when 
required . The Dalmatian and A pillion expeditions of 
Orseolo, the Norman wars of Domenico Selvo and Vitale 
f alier, not only gave the Venetians experience in the rapid 
gumament of a deet, but, as in the case of the battle of 
'JDorazzo, trained them in naval tactics, and inspired them 

rith confidence in their resources. 

The constitution also had been slowly growing and 

^ing shape ; though much still remained to be done 

efore it assumed that rigid form which characterises it 
ter the year 1296. It was still essentially a democratic 

wnstitutioQ. Upon the invitation of the Doge the people 
mbled, either in the open air or in S. Mark's, to approve 


a law, to confirm a nomination, to decide on peace or war. 
The popular voice was essential to the choice of a 
Doge, and long and tenaciously did the people claim 
their right. Not till after many struggles were they 
finally excluded from all participation in the election of 
the chief magistrate. 

Besides the General Assembly we find the rudimente 
of two important members of the Venetian constitution 
already displayed — the Consiglieri Ducali or Privy Council, 
and the Pregadi or Senate, which had its origin in the 
invitation sent by the Doge to the more prominent citizens 
requesting their advice in important matters. 

The position and powers of the Doge were also in 
process of formation. The Venetians learned that the two 
great dangers inherent in the Dukedom were the possibility 
that it might be converted into a tyranny, and the risk of 
its becoming hereditary. They took summary measures to 
prevent the former danger by deposing, blinding, or killing 
many of their earlier rulers. The latter danger was met by 
a direct law, forbidding the creation of a Doge Consort- 
In no department of the constitution was the native 
independence of the State more clearly demonstrated than 
in the judicial system. Wliile the mainland of Italy was 
subjected to the legal codes imposed by various foreign 
conquerors, Venice still retained the Roman Jaw under which 
her refugee founders had always lived, as the basis of her 
jurisprudence. The courts consisted of the G-iudid del 
Cmnun, who in public, before the Doge and the people, heard 
and decided eases, usually in the open air ; and the Doge's 
representatives went on circuit for the administration of 
justice among the islands of the lagoon. Subsequently 
we find the institution of a Court of Appeal, called the 
Magistrato del Propria ; before this court came cases of 
intestacy, wardship, wills, probate, and all matters referring 
to the disposition of estates. 

A document of the year 934 gives us a genuine and 
curious picture of the administration of justice at tliat time. 
It begins by setting out a case of disputed boundary 
between the Abbot Marino and the Bishop of Altino, that is. 



■of Torcello. The Abbot presented himself before the court, 
which was assembled in the public palace. There 
were present the Doge, surrounded by the leading 
of the city, and many of the people. Marino stated 
his case, and complained of injury ; the tystandera confirmed 
his statement A warrant was then issued summoning 
the Bishop to appear. When both parties were before the 
eourt, each put in his proofs — his deeds, maps, etc. These 
were examined, and judgment given, in favour of the Abbot 
This, so far as our scanty material permits us to under- 
etand it, was the condition of Venice at the close of the 
eleventh ceuttiry. We find a people displaying all the 
marks of a free State ; making wars on its own account ; 
ing its own money; legislating for itself; young and 
vigorous in the midst of decrepitude ; free in the midst of 
slavery ; ready to take its place among the great forces of 
Europe which the Crusades were presently to call forth in 


yitaU Mifchul, Doge — The Crusades — Venice chosen as the port of 
embarkation — The Doge recommends the Crusade to the Venetians— 
The resentment of the Eastern Emperor — He stirs the Pisans to attack 
the Venetians at Rhodes — Siege of Haifa — The body of S. NicoI6 
stolen and brought to Venice — A Venetian colony in Ferrara — Ordelafo 
Falter, Doge — The Venetians in Sidon — The need to keep the seas open 
brings Venice into collision with pirates — Line of communications weak 
— Attack by King of Hungary on Dalmatia — Defeat of Venice — Loss of 
Dalmatia — Domcnico Michiel, Doge — Baldwin implores help from Venice : 
granted — The Venetian fleet begins to plunder Corfu, Chios, Lesbos, 
Rhodes — Defeat of the Saracens ofif Jaffa — Venetians in Acre — The terms 
they demanded for attacking Tyre — Siege of Tyre — Fall of Tyre — The 
Michiel bezants — The Venetian colony in Tyre': how governed — Brilliant 
results of this expedition — Pictro Polani, Doge — The Venetians protect 
Fano — And fight Padua for altering the course of the Brenta — First use 
of mercenaries — Domenico Morosiniy Doge — The Normans — Battle of 
Maloo — Siege of Corfu — Venetians and Greeks quarrel — Treaty with the 
Normans — Frederick Barbarossa — The spirit of municipal freedom in 
North Italy— Frederick in Italy— Fi^afe MichUl II., Doge>-Diet of 
Roncaglia — Schism in the Church — Alexander III. — Venice compelled 
to join the Lombard League — The neighbours of Venice attack her — 
Venice seeks support from the Emperor Manuel — His seizure of all 
Venetian goods in Constantinople — Venice declares war — The exhaustion 
of the Venetian treasury — Taxation by sestifri — Issue of government 
stock — Disastrous expedition against Manuel — The Doge killed — Con* 
stitutional reforms — The Maggior Consiglio — The Ptegadi — dmsiglicri 

The movement of the Crusades brings Venice to the very 
forefront of European history. Her previous develop- 
ment had been slowly preparing the way for her ^ 
emergence. The Council, held at Clermont in 1095, re- 
solved that the armament should leave Europe early in the 
following year. The Pope and the leaders of the Crusades 
were obliged to turn their attention to the question of 



transport for the vast and amorphous mob, which, without 
discipline, with no distinction of ranks, with no 
discrimination between soldier and monk, between 
merchant and peasant, between master and man, was now 
bent on reaching the Holy Land, almost aa eager to die 
there as to achieve the object of their mission, the recovery 
of the Sepulchre. 

The three maritime states of Italy — Genoa, Pisa, and 
Venice — were each ready to offer their services. Each was 
jealous of the other, and each determined to prevent the 
other from reaping any signal conuuercial advantage from 
the religious enthusiasm of Europe. Venice was not only the 

imost powerful, but also the most eastern, of the three com- 
petitors. It was natural that the choice should fall on lier. 
When the Pope's invitation to assist in the Crusade reached 
the city, however, it seems that the Government did not at 
once embrace the cause oificially in the name of the whole 
Kepublic, There was, at first, a tendency to leave the business 
of transport to private enterprise. But on receipt of the 
news that Jerusalem had fallen, tlie Yeuetian Government 
began to take active steps in the matter. The Doge summoned 
the General Assembly, and laid the situation before the 
people. He recommended the official acceptance of the 
Crusade upon the grounds of religion and of commercial 
utility; he pointed out that Pisa and Genoa were already 
well established in the East, and that Venice could not aiford 
to ait quietly by and see her rivals increasing their importance 
in the Levant. 

The Crusade was accepted with enthusiasm. The whole 
city engaged in preparing a fleet which should be worthy of 
the Republic. Then, after a solemn mass in S. Mark's, at 
which the standard of the Cross and the standard of the 
Republic were presented to the leaders, the soldiers of the 
Cross embarked on the fleet which numbered two hundred 
ships, and set sail down the Adriatic, making for Ehodes, 
where they were to winter. 

At Rhodes two incidents of great significance in Venetian 
history took place. The Eastern Emperors had never viewed 
with favour the incursion of the Crusaders. The creation of 



the kingdom of Jerusalem was really a usurpation of Imperii 
territory. Alesiua I. now endeavoured to persuade the 
Venetians to withdraw from the enterprise. In this 
he failed ; Venice remained true to the Cross, and to her 
commercial interests. It is at this point that we find the 
heginnings of that divergence between Constantinople and the 
Kepubhc, which eventually declared itself in open hostiiity.and 
led up to the sack of Constantinople in the fourth Crusade. 
Alexius, finding that the Venetians were not inclined to 
obey him, resolved to punish them. An instrument was 
ready to his hand. The Pisans saw with disfavour the 
advent of their commercial rivals in Eastern waters. They 
were willing to hoist the Imperial standard as opposed to 
the crusading cross, and to sail down upon the Venetians at 
Rhodes. They were defeated. The Venetians released all the 
prisoners except thirty of the more prominent among them 
who were detained as hostages. The first fruits of the 
Crusade, as far as Venice was concerned, were the creation 
of two powerful enemies, the Emperor and the Pisans. 

The Venetians reached Jaffa in spring ; and the siege of 
the fortified city of Haifa, at the foot of Mount Carmel, 
was assigned to them. They attacked the city with large 
catapults, from which they hurled stones ; they built a lofty 
tower whose summit was on a level with the top of the city 
walls, so that the men on the tower and the men on the 
walls were able to fight hand to hand. Tancred attacked 
the city from the other side, and in a short time Haifa fell 
The Venetians returned home. They seem to have been 
satisfied with the result of their expedition, perhaps because 
they were able to show to their fellow-citizens the body of 
San Nicolfi, which they had stolen on their way to Jaffa. 
But as a matter of fact the Venetians' share in the first 
Crusade was neither glorious nor profitable ; and their 
satisfaction at having obtained the body of San Nicolii has 
merely a symbolical significance. Patron of sailors, the 
possession of his body seemed to promise the Republic a sure 
superiority over her rivals on the sea. This sentiment found 
expression in the exclamation of delight with which the 
relics were welcomed — " O happy people of Venice ! Ye who 


have the lion of Mark, the Evangelist, to give you victory in 
battle, and who now possess the high-prieat of aailora, 
he who lays the raging of the sea." 
The movement of expansion in the East, which was 
prompted by the Crusade, found a counterpart on tlie main- 
land of Italy where the influence of the growing Republic 
took its first step forwards. Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, 
■with the help of Venice and Kavenna, succeeded in recover- 
ing FeiTara for the Church. Id return for this aid the 
Eepublic was allowed to establish a consulate in that city; 
and gradually a colony of Venetian merchants, whose houses 
and shops clustered round the church of S, Mark, sprang up 
and absorbed the commerce of the Ferrarese, as Venetians 
were apt to do wherever they went. 

But this movement of expansion brought with it its 
own difficulties and drawbacks. The reign of the 
next Doge, Ordelafo Falier, revealed one of the 
eerious dangers to which the Eepublic exposed itself by 
taking part in the Crusades. Two years after the accession 
of Falier, the Venetians, on the invitation of Baldwin, King 
of Jerusalem, sent a fleet of one hundred ships to his assistance. 
The city of Sidon fell, and the Venetians received as a 
recompense for their aid, a church, a street, a market-place, 
the right to use their own weights and measures, as well as 
jurisdiction over their own subjects in Sidon ; in fact, the 
nucleus of a colony of merchants living under special treaty 
capitidations. And this concession of Baldwin served as a 
type of the many privileges which the A''enetians subsequently 
acquired in the Levant. Tlie establishment of this and 
other colonies, entailed upon the Venetians the necessity of 
keeping open their connections between the mother city and 
ite offshoots. This imposed on them the task of clearing 
the pirates from the sea — an operation as useful to them- 
selves OS it was to the Crusaders. But the claims of the 
colony and of distant service in the Holy Land laid bare the 
^eak point in the line of communication between Venice 
and the Levant. During the nine years from 1096 
to 1105, Venice had placed upon the sea three 
idred ships of war. This could not be done vrithout 

exhausting her reaourcea ; and there was an enemy ready at 
hand to take advantage of her weakness. The sea- 
shore cities of Dalmatia had always been an object of 
di'siro to the kings of Hungary. At the same time the pos- 
session of them was absohitely essential to the Republic, not 
merely as sources of food, of wood, and of tribute, but also 
as H guarantee for the free passage of the Adriatic Caloman, 
King of Hungary, saw his opportunity now, and determined 
to profit by the weakened condition of Venice. In violation 
I'f previous treaties he made a descent on the Dalmatian 
cottst, and became master of many of its towns. At the 
moment the Venetians were powerless to retaliate ; their 
tleet was absent ; and even if it could have been recalled, 
that would have left an open field for the Pisans and the 
lleuoese to pursue their commercial advancement in the 
Levant. Operations for the reduction of Dalmatia 
were postponed till 1116, when the Doge succeeded 
in recovering the allegiance of Zara, Trau, Sebenico. But the 
success was merely temporary ; no sooner had he returned to 
Venice than the Hungarians again descended upon the coast- 
line. The Doge was obliged to set out once more. 
He gave battle to the Hungarians at Zara, and, in 
■spite of his personal valour, he was defeated and killed. The 
rout of the Venetians was complete. 

The defeat of Falier at Zara was so crushing that the new 
Doge, Doraenico Michiel, abandoned all thought of reprisals. 
He concluded a truce of five years with King Stephen II, 
of Hungary. No doubt one reason for this condncC 
is to be found in the affairs of the kingdom of Jerusalem. 
Baldwin II., in his straits, had sent both to the Pope 
and to the Kepublic, imploring aid. Tlie Pope urged Venice 
to grant Baldwin's request. The General Assembly was con- 
voked in S. Mark's ; the Doge, the Patriarch, the Bishops, 
clergy, and the whole population, were present at the 
solemn mass which opened the proceedings. After mass the 
Patriarch read aloud the Pope's letter. The Doge then 
warmly advocated the cause of the Crusade. Under the 
guise of a religious enthusiasm he did not fail to indicate 
the material advantages which would be derived from the 



expedition. There was an oppoaition, however, in the 
assembly. A strong party insisted that the 
Venetians should not forget the lesson taught them 
by the loss of Dalmatia, whicli was entirely due to the 
strain on the resources of the liepuhlic, caused by the despatch 
of sucli lajge armaments to the East, and by t!ie defenceless 
condition iu which Venice and the Adriatic were thereby 
left. As an additional argument against the expedition, they 
pointed to the hostility of the new Emperor, Calioannes, 
who had already declined to renew the ancient trading con- 
cessions. The Doge's proposal was carried, however, and the 
fleet prepared. It consisted of seventy-two sail, and a 
contemporary describes the splendid spectacle which it pre- 
sented : the beaked vessels of great size, larger than galleys, 
rowed by a hundred oarsmen each ; they, and all the fleet, 
painted in brilliant colours that caught the sunlight — 
^Undore ameno prospccta?Ues. 

As on former occasions, so now the expedition began by 
plundering. The Venetians were aware of the hostility of 
the Imperial Court ; they knew tliat at Constantinople they 
were hated. They determined to treat all Greek possessions 
as fair prey. At Corfu, where they wintered, the city was 
dealt with as though it belonged to a foe. They sailed in 
spring for Chios, Lesbos, and Ehodes, sacking the towns at 
which they touched. They moved on to Jaffa, and there 
had news that the Saracen fleet was putting out to sea from 
Egypt. The Doge determined to give battle. He had full 
confidence in the strength of his armament and in the courage 
of his men. He adopted a ruae. The fleet was divided into 
two portions ; the larger remained out of sight, upon the 
open sea, the smaller pushed forward to feel for the enemy. 
The Saracens were sighted ; and the Venetians, feigning 
terror, drew off, gradually luring the foe out into the 
All through the night the manceuvre was continued, 
the Saracens pursuing, the Venetians yielding ground, till 
''.suddenly, at dawn, the pagans found themselves face to face 
the whole mass of the Venetian fleet. The Doge himself 
the attack at once, and with such violence that he all 
it sank the enemy's flag-ship. The Venetian victory could 


not have been more complete ; many of the Saracena' ships 
were burned, and, laden with booty, the Venetians „ 

Bailed into Acre, where the Doge presently received 
the congratulations of the Patriarch of Jeruealem, and whence. 
in company with many barons of the Christian host, he went 
to Jerusalem to discharge a vow made before leaving Venice. 

The Crusaders referred the question of subsequent 
military operations to a councU of war. Opinions were 
divided. The people of Damascus and Jerusalem desired to 
attack Ascalon ; those of the seaboard urged the reduction of 
Tyre. The dispute became heated, and was only resolved by 
an appeal to chance. In an urn, placed upon an altar, lay two 
slips of paper, one bearing the name of Tyre, the other the 
word " Ascalon." A cliild put his hand into the urn and 
drew out the paper with the uame of Tyre. The attack was 
to be made on that city. But nothing could be done with- 
out the assistance of the Venetian fleet. The Venetians 
were absolute masters of the situation ; they knew it, and 
proceeded to turn the circumstances to their own 
account. In Acre, in the church of the Holy Cross, 
the Patriarch and the barons of Jerusalem took a solemn 
oath that throughout their kingdom the Venetians should 
enjoy a free quarter, a market, a batb, and a bakery ; that 
the Doge's subjects should be exempt from taxation, and 
should use their own weights and measures; that they 
should be under the jurisdiction of their own magistrates; 
that the property of a Venetian dying intestate should 
be committed to the tutelage of Venetians. The King 
of Jerusalem and the barons pledged themselves to pay 
a yearly tribute of three hundred bezants; tliey confirmed 
the concessions granted to the Doge Falier ; and, finally, 
they promised that, if Tyre and Ascalon fell into the hands 
of the Franks, the Venetians should receive a third part of 
each of those cities. 

These capitulations implied a most important gain for the 
commerce of Venice ; hut their value depended entirely upon 
the stability of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and that kingdom 
was doomed to extinction after a brief and precarious 
existence. The nature of the concessions, however, shows the 



power ofVenice, and displays her real object in undertaking 
the Crusades ; that ivas the extension of her com- 
mercial relations in the Levant. 
When these terms had been concluded the siege of Tyre 
began at once. The Venetians blockaded the port ; the 
Crusaders drew lines round the city on the land side. The 
assailing towers were built to the level of the wall-top ; the 
catapults and engines placed in position. But the siege 
proved a long operation. The people of Ascalon had 
time to prepare, and to attempt, a diversion in favour of 
, Tyre bj making a sudden assault on Jerusalem, which 
I had been left almost ungarrisoned ; the movement was not 
Bucceasful. Meantime in the besiegers' camp signs of discord 
were not wanting. The Venetians, partly owing to their 
growing importance, partly on account of their undisguised 
policy of commercial aggrandisement, roused the suspicion and 
dislike of their allies. It was rumoured in the camp that the 
Doge would withdraw if the siege were protracted. Michiel 
realised the danger of allowing such a belief to take root ; 
the prizes awaiting him in Tyre and Ascalon were too valu- 
able to be jeopardised by tolerating such a misconception. 
He took a striking and picturesque method of silencing the 
slanderers. By his orders the sails, masts, and rudders of the 
Venetian ships were carried to the French camp, and solemnly 
deposited there, as proof positive that the Venetians did not 
I intend to abandon their allies. 

Tyre was unable to hold out against the long blockade. 
i It surrendered on honourable terms. The flags of Jeru- 
[ salem, Tripoli, and S. Mark were hoisted on the walls, and 
[ the division of the city according to agreement took place. 
[ The Venetians at once proceeded to settle their newly 
[ acquired possessions. They built three churches, dedicated 
to S. Mark, to S. James, and to S. Nicolas, The safety 
of the quarter was entrusted to a viscount, the administra- 
tion of justice to a bailie (fiailo). The officials of the 
kingdom of Jerusalem were bound by oath to assist the 
viscount and the bailie ; and the inhabitants of the Venetian 
I quarter took an oath of allegiance to the Doge. 

One remarkable episode of the siege of Tyre, though 



related by many Venetian clironiclera, is not to be found I 
the most accredited ; probably, however, the legend 
condenses a fact It is said that the Doge, findin g 
his money running short, caused bits of leather to be issued, 
promising that they should be cashed for coin on the return 
of the expedition to Venice. In memory of this event the 
Michiel family to this day bear bezants on their shield. 

The event was, indeed, one of the highest moment in the 
history of the Eepublic, for here, by the siege and capture of 
Tyre, we reach the beginning of that greater Venice, that 
large commercial empire which was destined to spring 
from the first small gathering of fishermen's huts, huddled 
together upon the inhospitable mud-banks of the lagoon. 
For the Venetian quarter in Tyre was an integral part of 
Venice as no other Venetian settlement had hitherto been. 
At Constantinople the Venetians possessed a district of their 
own in the city ; but they were under Imperial jurisdiction, 
and there could be no pretence of absolute independence in 
the very capital of the Empire, At Tyre, however, the 
Venetian quarter was independent of the kingdom of 
■lei'usalem, which in its turn owed no allegiance to the 
Empire, and this was a fact which the Emperors of the 
East did not forget in their subsequent dealings with the 

But though Venice bad gained enormously by this 
expedition to the East, the warning of those who, in the 
basilica of S, Mark, had opposed the Doge'a policy was now 
to be verified. Stephen IT. of Hungary, in the absence of 
the Doge, had seized the coast towns of Dalmatia, and 
the Greek Emperor continued to harass the Venetians in 
Constantinople. Michiel with his victorious fleet sailed 
as soon as possible for the Adriatic. He recovered the 
Dalmatian towns, and then, by way of reprisals against 
Caboannes, be laid siege to Cepbalouia. This brought the 
Emperor to terms, and a lame treaty of peace was con- 
cluded, by which the Venetians, nominally at least, reac- 
quired all their privileges in the East. 

The Doge returned in triumph to Venice, bringing with 
him for all Venetians a sense of the power and importance 



of the Kepublic such as they had never before known, a 
wealth of oriental spoils, and of no less valuable 
sacred relics, such as had never yet been unladen 
along the Eiva degli Schiavoni. By the operations in the 
Levant the growing Republic achieved a second movement 
of expansion, no less important than that which signalised 
the reign of Pietro Orseolo II. The civilising results of 
this prosperity are shown in the ameliorated conditions of 
life in the city ; the Doge closed the eleven brilliant years 
of bis reign by a pious and a useful provision. At all the 
street comers little tabernacles, auch as exist to-day, were 
placed against the walls. During the day the saint pro- 
tected the passers-by, and received their offerings in a little 
wooden box ; at night the lamp, which was lighted in his 
honour, served as a safeguard against robbery and murder. 
These shrines, which in the history of Venice must ever be 
«B9ociated with the siege and capture of Tyre, were entrusted 
to the care of the capi contrada, the heads of the various 
qnarters — a body of men elected by tlie inhabitants, recog- 
aised by the Government, and held responsible for the good 
order of their respective districts. 

Domenico Michiel retired to the convent of S. Giorgio 
Maggiore, and was succeeded by Pietro Polani. 
Venice found herself exhausted by the long wars in 
tiie East and in Dalmatia. She had made a show of naval 
resources and power such as no other State at that time could 
have displayed. These efforts had been richly productive : 
Venice had added to her sphere of commercial operations a 
whole region in the Levant, ,She had planted colonies, 
though they were still young and required nursing. She 
was in need of a breathing space to recruit her powers 
and to absorb her gains. Pietro Polani'a long Dogeship of 
eighteen years was favourable for this purpose. Venice 
enjoyed a period of repose for which she was indebted to 
the many dangers which were menacing all those powers 
which might have proved hostile to her. The affairs of 
Italy were in confusion between Lothair of Saxony and Conrad 
of Hohenstaufen, between Innocent II, and Anacletus I, 
The country was torn by civil wars. The nsisery of all the 


mainland cities must have made every Venetian feel a i 
debt of gratitude to the lagoons which kept his 
island home free, quiet, and prosperous, and entirely ^ 
separated from the destructive turmoil of the continent 
The Eastern Emperor, on the other hand, though he had not 
forgiven the Venetians for their violation of his dominion, 
was compelled, in face of the growing power of Roger, King 
of Sicily, to treat the Republic with respect, as it was highly 
probable that he would require Venetian aid against the 

Two events, slight in themselves but symptomatic in 
the history of the Republic, marked the reign of Pietro 
Polani. The first demonstrates the reputation which Venice 
had acquired at the siege of Tyre, and illustrates the 
way in which she turned every circumstance to her own 
profit, and to the establishment of Venice as arbiter of the 
Adriatic. The people of Fano were molested by their 
neighbours of Ravenna, Pesaro, and Sinigallia. They ap- 
pealed to the Doge for assistance. The Venetians exacted 
terras which were embodied in the first treaty which the 
Republic made with an Italian city. The Venetians were 
to enjoy absolute freedom in Fano, to be considered as 
citizens of that city ; suits by a Venetian against a Fanese 
were to be heard before the representative of Venice. 
Fano promised a tribute, which was dedicated to the illumi- 
nation of S. Mark's, and bound itself to assist Venice if 
she were at war in the Adriatic Tlie Faneai, further, 
declared themselves subject allies of the Republic in every- 
thing which did not traverse their feudal obligations to the 
Empire, In return Venice granted reciprocal rights of 
trading in their city, and pledged herself to protect Fano if 

The second point of interest in the reign of Polani was 
another little war, not on sea but on the mainland against the 
Paduans, who had cut the banks of the Brenta, and thereby 
sent down a dangerous discharge of soil into the lagoons at 
Fusina. The Venetians were fully alive to the fact that 
their very existence depended upon the integrity of the 
lagoons; their own history had demonstrated this fact to them 


over and over again ; they were prepared, and rightly, to 
make any tampering with the water system of the 
estuary a ca^ts belli. But the Venetians were a sea 
folk ; they bad never before been called upon to under- 
take a land war. One of their own historians has summed 
up the situation in these words ; " This was the first land 
war which Venice undertook ; and as the Venetians were 
not accustomed to this mode of campaign they were 
compelled to make use of foreign captains. What they 
■were compelled to at first, they continued through policy, 
for a military leader is naturally surrounded by a brilliant 
staff and a large suite ; and this would have induced 
a citizen -general to exceed those limits which, for tlie 
conservation of liberty, must be preserved in a republic." 
Whether Venice was as self-conscious as Paolo Morosini 
depicts her may be doubted. She was driven on this 
occasion to make use of mercenaries, because they were the 
lesser of two evils. But we shall have occasion to show 
ttat they were usually a source of weakness, and often a 
cause of alarm, to the Republic. The Paduan war was of 
short duration. One battle sufficed to compel the main- 
landers to come to terms, and to remedy the damage they 
bad done. 

Other events were in preparation which were destined to 
draw Venice once again into the circle of Eastern 
politics, and to embark her again upon a great naval 
campaign. The growing power of the Normans under 
Boger II. was a constant threat to the Emperor Manuel. The 
jealousy which Venice naturally felt for so powerful a naval 
rival, threw the Republic and the Emperor once more to- 
gether, though the alliance was not cordial Manuel agreed to 
confirm and enlarge the ancient privileges of the Venetians 
in Constantinople, while the Republic in return placed a 
large fleet upon the sea and joined the Greek squadron against 
the Normans. A battle was fought at Maleo, where, in 
spite of desertion by their Greek allies, the Venetians 
defeated Roger's fleet and captured forty ships. They then 
took part in the siege of Corfu, though the Venetian feeling 
sgainst the Greeks ran so high that it was found necessary 




to place the two forces in separate caiitoiuueuts. Butti 
precaution was useless ; the men could not meet 
without fighting, and matters reached such a pitch 
that the armies eventually engaged in open batde. 
Axouchos, the commander of the Greeks, was obliged to 
charge the Veoetiaos, and drove them to take refuge in their 
ships. They at once set sail to attack a detaclunent of Greek 
ships lying between CepLaJouia and Ithaca. They captured 
the Imperial galley, dressed a negro slave in tlie Imperial 
ensigns, placet! him under a canopy, and paraded him before 
the Greek camp at Corfu, making mock obeisance to him 
in scorn and insult. Corfu fell at last ; but the Doge took 
the first opportunity for retiring. He made terms with the 
Normans, by which all Venetian territory north of Ragusa 
was guaranteed immunity from Norman incursions, thereby 
securing still further the position of Venice in the Adriatic. 

The episode of the Norman war ended here for the present. 
But the Emperor Manuel did not forget the insult lie had 
received in the person of the negro slave, nor did he lay aside 
his hostility. He was presently enabled to satisfy his desire 
for revenge, and thereby brought Venice for the first tune 
into open and declared war with the Eastern Empire. Such 
a rupture had become inevitable from the moment when the 
Venetians allied themselves with the western races in the 
Crusades. Tliat alliance implied a policy which was hostile 
to the Eastern Empire, for it was animated by a spirit of 
commercial aggrandisement at the expense of the Empire, 
which was now breaking up, and from whose disiutegration 
Venice thought to draw profit But, in the meantime. 
the important events which were taking place on the main- 
land now called the attention of every Italian State U* 
the danger which threatened their liherties from the ambi- 
tious policy of the new Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa. 
Even Venice, separated and isolated as she was, could not 
escape being drawn into the current of Italian politics for a 
time, though her action proves once again how much more 
vital was her connection with the Eastern Empire than 
with Italy. 

When Frederick Barbarossa came to the throne and 



turned liia attention to the affairs of Italy, he found a 
strong spirit of municipal independence hostile to 
the Empire swaying the northern towns of the 
peninsula. The slow break-up of the Roman Empire 
released the desire for individual freedom in each com- 
mune, which the new Empire, founded by Karl the Great. 
had never been strong enough to crush. We have 
seen this spirit manifesting itself in the formation of 
Venice ; but there, thanks to the isolation of the lagoons, 
k was comparatively unhampered. Venice was able to 
pursue her own course undisturbed by extraneous pressure, 
and therefore she succeeded in developing a constitution which, 
being, in its final form, the expression of the whole mitional 
will, was not liable to attack from inside. The mainland 
cities were not so fortunate. They were inspired by the 
same desire for freedom as animated Venice, but they were 
constantly subject to the oppreaaive interruption of the 
stranger. They suffered under the yoke of foreign codes 
and of the feudal system, with its arbitrary cleavage of the 
State into castes. But in spite of all efTorts to mould them, 
the North Italian towns retained their individuality and their 
resolution to be virtually free. During ttie long struggle about 
tiie question of investitures, when the Empire was especially 
weak in Italy, this spirit had been carefully encouraged by 
the Church as a valuable weapon against the Emperor. It 
was this spirit of independence which Frederick Barbarossa 
resolved to crush. Tlie quarrels of Milan, the most powerful 
champion of liberty, with its neighbours of Lodi, Como, and 
others, gave the Emperor hia opportunity. He came into 
Italy on purpose to chastise the Milanes& He summoned 
the North Italians to meet him at Eonc^lia, near 
Fiacenza, and Venice sent her representative with 
view to obtaining the renewal of the diplomas she had 
been in the habit of receiving from the masters of Italy. 
The Emperor found that he had underrated the strength of 
the Lombard cities. He proceeded to Eome for 
his coronation, and then retired into Germany to 
raise a fresh and more powerful anny. 

A new Doge, Vitale ilichiel II., was called upon to guide 


the Bepublic through the dangers which were closing round 
the young and growing State. In the year 1158 
Frederick was again in Italy, and Milan waa obliged 
to make submission. The Emperor thought to settle the 
affairs of North Italy by a diet at Boncagliau When it was 
found, however, that the cities would no longer be allowed to 
elect their own consuls, every one of them instantly became 
hostile to Frederick once more. An opportunity for dis- 
playing this hostility soon offered itself. In the year 1159 
the papal throne fell vacant The Imperialists elected Pope 
Victor IV. ; the Guelf party, the party of the Church and the 
communes as against the Empire, elected Alexander III. 
Victor was certainly an antipope; moreover, he was the 
nominee of Frederick, who was menacing Italian liberty. 
There could be no doubt which side the cities of North Italy 
would take. They all declared for Alexander. Venice found 
that she could not stand aloof. She was alarmed at the 
masterful designs of the Emperor, and threw in her lot with 
the other cities of Lombardy. Frederick instantly retaliated. 
He knew where he could strike the Eepublic with effect 
Padua, Verona, and Ferrara were too glad of an opportunity 
to injure their powerful and haughty neighbour of the 
lagoons, whose position had been so greatly strengthened by 
the siege and fall of Tyre. The Emperor could count on 
their support So serious was the attack that one lagoon 
township, Cavarzere, was actually seized and held in the 
Emperor's name. Again, to the north-east the Patriarch of 
Aquileia served as another weapon by which Frederick 
could wound the Eepublic. Tlie Patriarch Ulric, encour- 
aged by the Emperor, attacked Grade, and expelled the 
Patriarch Dandolo. But Venice, in the interests of her 
own independent development, could not allow the lagoon 
Patriarchate to be crushed by its mainland neighbour. The 
Doge manned a fleet, and in his turn attacked, defeated, 
and captured the Patriarch of Aquileia, who was brought 
a prisoner to Venice ; nor did he recover his liberty until 
he had pledged himself and his successors to send a yearly 
tribute of twelve pigs, in scornful allusion to the number of 
his cathedral chapter, as a sign of submission to the Doge. 


But, thia success not withstau ding, Venice was still 
threatened by the open hostility of Frederick. 
There was no doubt that he would attack her on 
the first opportunity. The reappearance of a powerful 
Emperor on the mainland of Italy, a sight which had not 
disturbed the Venetians for many years, produced a return 
to the ancient policy of the Ecpubhc in similar circum- 
stances. The Venetians endeavoured to take advantage of 
their theoretical and nominal dependence ou the Eastern 
Empire ; they appealed to Manuel for assistance, and 
attempted, in addition, to form a defensive alliance with the 
Normans of Sicily, both of whom viewed the progress of 
Frederick with jealousy. But the Emperor of Constantinople 
■was so much occupied with his campaigus on his northern 
frontier as to be almost powerless in the West ; and, more- 
over, he was still hostile to Venice, while the Normans were 
never friendly towards their maritime rivals in the Adriatic. 
The Republic therefore, by the force of circumstances, was 
obliged in self-defence to enter into league with the towns 
of North Italy. Venice had already been a member of 
other combinations hostile to Frederick; but now, oo 1st 
December 1167, she joined the great confederation which 
included almost all the Lombard cities. Being unable 
to contribute a land force, Bhe pledged herself to put 
her fleet at the disposal of the league ; she also bound 
herself to share any subsidies which she might receive from 
Constantinople ; to engage in no war on her own account ; 
to conclude no peace without the consent of her allies. 

But just at this moment, when Venice was becoming 
absorbed in the politics of North Italy, her attention 
was suddenly claimed by the action of Manuel, the 
Emperor of the East. Manuel had never forgotten the 
insult offered by the Venetian sailors at Corfu, nor the 
Bubaetiuent refiisal of the Republic to assist him against the 
Normans, with whom the Venetians had formed an alliance 
very distasteful to the Greeks. The Venetiaus were thoroughly 
unpopular in Constantinople, it is said on account of their 
haughtiness, more probably because they were gradually 
absorbing all the wealth and commerce of the city. Their 

1 67. 


numbera wei'e very great; as many as 200,000 are said to b 
lived in the Venetian quarter. They owned land 
outside the city, and they frequently married into the 
great Greek families. They proved quarrelsome neighbours, 
however, and we constantly hear of faction fights between the 
Venetian and the Lombard residents. It was not difficult 
for Manuel to make their turbulence an excuse, when he 
wished to annoy them. His whole attitude had been hostile 
to Venice. He paid no attention to Venetian appeals for 
aid against Frederick ; and the Venetians of Constantinople 
were not without their suspicions that the Emperor medi- 
tated some treachery. Two of their number sought ao 
audience and said to Manuel, " We have heard, though we 
do not believe it, that you intend much ill to the Venetians," 
Mannel reassured them, and even pubhshed an edict ordering 
any one who insulted a Venetian to be hanged. But be 
continued to mass troops in the city, till suddenly, 
on the 7th March ll7l, all Venetians in the *'''' 
Empire were arrested, and their property seized and confis- 
cated. When the news reached Venice the popular fuiy 
broke out in cries of " War ! war ! " It was impossible to 
stem the tide of indignation, and the Government was forced 
to prepare for a great naval campaign against the Eastern 
Empire, their ancient auzeraiu. All considerations of their 
duty to tlie Lombard League, of their solemn oath not to 
embark on any other war, were thrown to the winds in 
their rage at seeing their commercial possessions in the 
East jeopardised by the hostility and treachery of Manuel. 

The armament required was a large one, and the strain 
upon the resources of the Bepublic, which had lately manned 
80 many fleete, brought to light the fact that the treasury was 
exhausted. Signs of financial embarrassment had not been 
wanting. As far back as 1164 the Republic had found 
itself compelled to borrow money from some of its wealthier 
citizens. It amortised the debt by surrendering the 
revenues of the market at Eialto for sixteen years. But 
now, in view of the war with Manuel, the Eepublic was 
obhged to exact a forced loan from aU her inhabitants. For 
this purpose the city was divided, for the first time, into mx 



districU, or sestieri, whicli still exist — C'astello, San Marco, 
Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo, Uorsoduro. Tbe 
population was taxed at the rate of one per cent on 
the net income. To assess this tax comniissioners were 
appointed to examine the incomes of all Venetians. This 
inquisition, always odious, was especially unpopular with the 
merchant class. But the city had cried " War ! war ! " and 
they were obliged to submit. The money raised by this forced 
loan hore interest at the rate of four per cent per annum, 
payable half-yearlj' ; and in order to carry out the operation 
with regularity, a chamber of loans was instituted. The 
bonds were issued by the chamber ; the security was the 
whole revenue of the Kepublic. The bonds could be 
bequeathed, mortgaged, or sold ; and so we find iu this 
forced loan the earliest instance of government stock, cer- 
tainly in the history of Venice, perhaps in the history of 

Besides raising money, the Government was also com- 
pelled to face the difficulty of finding men for the fleet 
All Venetians were recalled from abroad. They were 
expected though not compelled to serve. The Eepublic 
drew her sailors from three sources, and apparently at this 
time all were volunteers, though later on the oarsmen in 
the great gaUeys were partly suppHed by condemned 
criminals. The ordinary source was the population of 
Venice itself; the suhsUliary source was the allied or 
tributary lands ; the actraordiiuLry source was the foreign 
ports where Venetians traded, and where they could raise 
mercenaries by the promise of large pay and the prospect 
of unlimited booty. 

Thanks to tliese vigorous measures, the Doge was able, 
[in 100 days, to man a fleet of 120 .sail In September 
of ll7l, with the usual ceremony of the blessing of the 
banner, Vitale Michiel sailed away southward to attack 
the Empire of the East At Chalcis, in Euhcea, ambassadors 
from Manuel arrived ; they declared that the Emperor had 
no desire for war; rather he invited the Venetians to send 
their representatives to Constantinople where they might treat 
of peace. The Venetians fell into the trap. Ambassadora, 


among them Enrico Dandolo, were despatched ; they waste 
their time fruitlessly in the capital, while the fleet 
retired to winter quarters in Scliioa, There, in 
idleness, discipline became relaxed ; the crowded ships grew 
filthy and unhealthy ; plague broke out, more probably the 
result of dirt than of poison ; thousands died. At length the 
Venetians could endure no more. The crews mutinied, and 
set sail for Venice. So complete was the collapse of the 
Venetian armament, so sweeping the mortality, that, as 
legend declares, the whole Giustiniani family, with one 
exception, perished ; it was only restored by the efforts of 
the sole survivor, a young monk, Nicol6 Giustinian, whom 
the Pope absolved from his vows. He married the Doge's 
daughter, renewed his race, and retired once more to his 
convent on the Lido. The disaster was complete. The 
shattered remnants of this splendid Venetian armament, 
created by geaerous sacrifices and bearing the hopes of the 
Republic, returned to the Lido in the spring of 1172. 
Instead of booty, it brought the plague ; in place of victory. 
death. The Doge, with magnificent courage, summoned the 
CJeneral Assembly, and sought to exculpate himself. But 
the rage and mortification of the people rendered them 
deaf ; they only saw before them the man responsible for 
this crushing defeat ; the Doge divined that be was lost ; 
he endeavoured to fly, was overtaken, struck down, and killed 
near the church of San Zaccaria. 

The position of Venice was now very grave. Enemies 
surrounded her ; she had uo allies. In Italy she was 
openly at war with the Emperor Frederick, and she still 
remained a member of the Lombard League. In the East 
she had just been thrown back, not by the arms but by 
diplomacy of her bitter enemy, Manuel. At home she was 
a prey to anarchy and revolution, which had ended in the 
murder of the Doge. 

Alarm at this situation caused the Venetians to examine 
the working of their constitution, Eightiy or wrongly, 
they seem to have considered that the fault lay there. 
And so the defeat of Vitale Mich i el led up to the 
most serious constitutional reforms that we have met with 



AS yet in the course of Venetian history. These reforms 

indicate the Hnea upon which the constitution of the 

Kepublic was about to stereotype itself ; and in them 

we find the germ of that particular construction which the 

Venetian oligarchy eventually tjiaplayed. 

Hitherto the political machinery of the Kepublic had 
consisted of a Doge, elected in the General Assembly of all 
Venetian people, with two councillors to assist him, and with 
power to invite assistance from other prominent citizens if he 
saw fit. With the Doge lay the right to convoke this General 
Assembly, whose voice was necessary, however, in such 
important matters as the election of the supreme magistrate, 
the declaration of war, and the conclusion of peace. 

It appeared now to the Venetians, in considering their 
constitution, that reforms were necessary for two reasons : 
first, because the position of the Doge was too independent, 
thanks to liis discretionary powers in summoning the 
General Assembly, and in inviting the advice of prominent 
citizens, and also because the two dncal councillors had 
never succeeded in acquiring any real weight in the 
management of affairs ; secondly, the constitution required 
revbion, because the people were too free and unruly when 
they met in the General Assembly. Owing to the rapid 
Hgrowth of the population and the consequent enlargement 
* of that body, it was impossible to say what rash resolu- 
tion might not be adopted. This danger had just been 
demonstrated by the recklessness which had hurried the 
Hepublic into a war with the Emperor of the East. It 
'seemed, therefore, that some middle term was desirable, 
dat reform must proceed upon the following lines : the 
-eonstruction of a deliberative assembly, which entailed as a 
■eorollary, tlie determination of the exact place in the con- 
;4titution to be occupied by the meiss of the people ; and the 
definition and limitation of the Doge's authority. The 
evolation of these two ideas forms the problem of Venetian 
constitutional history for the next 124 years, till the 
(flolution they reached was stereotyped by the closing of the 
'Great Council in the year 1296. 

As interregnum of six months between the murder of 


Vitale Michiel and the election of Ms successor 
produced the following reforms : — 

(1) With a view to creating an efficient de- 
liberative assembly, each 3estiere was ordered to elect two 
representatives; these six groups of deputies each nomi- 
nated forty members, from among the more prominent 
inhabitants of their respective sestiere ; thus an assembly 
of 480 members was created. They held office for 
one year ; at the end of that period the assembly 
itself named the two new electors for each ststitre. The 
functions of this assembly were to appoint the ofBcials of 
the Republic, which was done by vote, and to prepare all 
matter which had to be submitted to the General Assembly 
of the whole population. Here then we find the germ of 
the Ma^gior Consiylio, the Great Council, the basis of the 
Venetian oh'garchieal constitution. It had its original in the 
necessity for limiting the electorate in a rapidly growing State. 
Its prime function of appointing to office was given to it 
from the very first. lu its source it was a democratic body ; 
it was the result of an election by the whole population as 
represented by their twelve deputies, and may be s^d, 
therefore, to have expressed the will of the people. But it 
already contained the element of a close ohgarchy in the 
provision whereby the assembly itself named all subsequent 
twelve electors. 

(2) The next step was to strengthen the Pregadi, tht 
invUed, who hitherto had assisted the Doge when he diose 
to request their advice, though nothing was done to make 
this body permanent till the reforms under Tiepolo between 
the years 1229 and 1249. 

(3) The most important step taken, at present, in the 
direction of curbing the Doge's authority, was the creation 
of four more ducal councillors, raising the whole number to 
six. Their duty was to check the Doge in any attempt at 
personal aggrandisement ; above all they were to see that 
he did not introduce into treaties with foreign powers any 
clause which secured special commercial advantages for 
himself or hia family. 

(4) The compensations offered to the Doge for these 

restrictioDS, indicate, even thus early, the lines which the 
Venetians intended to follow in their treatment 
of the Dukedom. The ceremony siirroimding the 
Doge was increased ; a guard of honour accompanied liim 
■when be went out; at his election he waa carried in a 
chair of state round the Piazza. 

In fact, these reforms of the year 1172 breathe the 
very spirit of the Venetian constitution. It was intended 
to extrude the people from their ancient rights ; to render 
the Council a close body, an oligarchy ; to reduce the 
Doge to a mere figure-head in the State. The intention 
is clearly marked ; and Venetian constitutional history turns 
upon the way in which that programme was carried out. 

But the people were not disfranchised at a single Mow. 
"We have seen that part of the duties of the new Council of 
480 was to prepare matter for submission to the General 
Assembly, and one of the popular rights was a voice in the 
election of the Doge. AVlien the Eepublic proceeded to the 
choice of a chief magistrate in the place of the murdered 
Doge Michiel, an attempt was at once made to deprive the 
people of this right. The Council appointed eleven electors 
to nominate the new Doge and to present him to the people, 
not for election but for confirmation. When the eleven ap- 
peared before the General Assembly, however, they were met 
by outcries against the tyrants who were usurping the people's 
rights. The eleven were in serious danger of their lives, 
and quiet was only restored by the adoption of a formula 
— " This is your Doge, an it please you," — which seemed to 
preserve to the people their voice in the election. 

Thus the young oligarchy took its first step towards one 
of ita objects, the extrusion of the people. The right of 
election was really lost, though the ghost of it still remained 
to trouble the State for more than a hundred years. 


Sebastian Ziani, Doge — Financial distress — Venice suspends payment — 
Ambassadors sent to Manuel — Enrico Dandolo, his blindness — Afiairs of 
the Lombard League — Meeting between Frederick and Alexander pro- 
posed — Venice suggested — The Congress of Venice — Venice makes special 
terms — The Sposalizio del Mar — Aquileia and Grado settled — Venetian 
gain from the Congress — Growth of the city — Loggia of the Palace — 
Columns of the Piazzetta — Ponte di Rialto — Ziani's political testament — 
Orio MalipCerOf Doge — Venetian relations with Constantinople — Death 
of Manuel — Usurpation and atrocities of Andronicus — Isaac Comnene, 
Emperor — His friendly relations with Venice — Betrothal of Henry of 
Hohenstaufeu to Constance of Sicily — Consequences for Venice — Treaty 
between Isaac and Venice — Siege of Zara — Third Crusade unprofitable for 
Venice — The Quarantia, supreme court of Venice — Ma^stralo del Propria 
— Del Forestier — Avogadori di Coinun — Enrico Dandolo, Doge — His 
character and views — Genoa and Pisa — The fourth Crusade — Venice 
contracts for the transport of Crusaders — Ambassadors from the Crusaders 
in Venice — Assembly in S. Mark's — Innocent confirms the contract — 
The destination of the Crusade — Venice fulfils her contract — The 
Crusaders not ready to sail — The Doge proposes to attack Zara — Arrival 
of Pietro Capuano — The Venetians take the Cross — The sailing of the 
fleet — Siege of Zara : it falls — Second diversion of the fourth Crosade — 
Causes of this diversion — The agreement of Philip, Boniface, and Dandolo 
— The Venetian terms in the convention of Zara — The fleet sails to Con- 
stantinople—Siege of the city — Dandolo*s bravery— The flag of S. Mark 
on the walls — Panic of Alexius the elder — Isaac replaced on the throne — 
The Crusaders demand fulfilment of the Zara convention — The revolution 
of Ducas — An attack on Constantinople designed — Partition treaty — 
Capture and sack of the city — Division of the spoil — The result to 

The choice of the eleven electors fell upon Sebastian Ziani. 
The new Doge's attention was almost immediately 
called to the question of finance. The expense 
of the armament which had met with such disastrous 
fortunes, and the large subsidies paid towards the funds of 

the Lombard League, liad so exliausted the exchequer that 
money was not forthcoming to meet the interest 
due on the State bonds. Id these circumstances the 
Doge, by the advice of the Pregadi, proposed and carried the 
suspension of payment on the national debt until the State 
should be in a sounder financial condition. 

The State was virtually bankrupt ; but as all its 
creditors were Venetians, the appeal made to their patriotism 
was not made in vain. These financial difficulties, however, 
obliged the State to abandon all thought of further war with 
Manuel, and compelled Venice to sue humbly for terms of 
peace and an indemnity, if possible, for loss suffered by 
expulsion from Constantinople. 

The lirst ambassadors, Enrico Dandolo and Fhilipo 
Greco, had already left Venice before Ziani was elected. They 
experienced anything but a kindly reception from Manuel, 
and one widely -accepted story says that Dandolo was blinded, 
or partially blinded, by order of the Emperor. Another 
account represents Dandolo aa escaping in time to save his 
eyes. On the whole, it would not appear that Dandolo was 
stone blind, but rather defective of vision, as his descendant, 
Andrea Dandolo, describes him visu aHqtudittr obtenebraius. 
Such a theory comports better with his conduct during the 
siege of Constantinople, his leaping from his ship and his 
scaling the walls, than does the supposition of his total 
blindness. However that may be, Dandolo's missiou failed. 
But he brought back with him from the East two things 
which proved of great moment subsequently — a knowledge of 
Constantinople, and a deep hatred for its rulers. Later 
missions likewise came to nothing, and Venice was com- 
pelled to seek alliances elsewhere. In the year 1175 she 
concluded a treaty with William of Sicily, whereby Venetian 
supremacy in the Adriatic north of Kagusa was recognised. 

But while matters were in this unsatisfactory position 

in the East, the affairs of Italy and the conduct of 

Barbarossa again claimed all the attention of the 

Republic. We have seen that Venice was drawn away from 

co-operation with the Lombard League by lier struggle with 

Hanuel in the East. She took no share in the battle of 


Legnano (19tli May), which forced the Emperor 
his schemes for subduing the Lombard < 
and comjxilled him to come to terms both with the 
League and with the Pope. For this purpose a meeting 
between the Emperor aud Pope was desired ; it was difficult, 
however, to find any place quite suitable for tljis object Both 
Emperor and Pope were too suspicious of each other to risk 
themselves in any city which they beheved to be decidedly 
a partisan of either. The accidental neutrality of Venice 
during this war, and the fact that she was essentially different 
from other Italian cities, being iu many respects not an 
Italian town at all, indicated the capital of the lagoons as 
the city best suited for the meeting of Emperor and Pop& 

On the part of the Emperor there had been a rapproche- 
ment towards Venice, after the Ecpublic in its fury against 
Manuel had assisted Archbishop Christian of Mayence, 
Frederick's chancellor, to attack Ancona ; while, on tlie other 
hand, the important part played by Venice in the formation of 
the Verona League, out of which the Lombard League emerged, 
and the prompt recognition of Alexander III. as oppos0d 
to Victor IV,, made the Republic acceptable to the Pope, 

The Leaguers, however, resenting the defection of Venice, 
her assistance given to Frederick against Ancona, and her 
absence from the battle of Legnano, insisted on considering 
her as a city of Imperial leanings, and refused to accept her 
as the place of congress. Bologna was suggested, but declined 
by the Emperor, Finally, after much discussion, and after the 
Pope had openly declared in favour of the lagoon city. Venice 
was chosen as the scene of the meeting, but not until the Doge 
had bound himself by oath to refuse the Emperor admittance 
within Venetian territory except by the Pope's consent, ^H 

On the 9th of May 1177 the Pope left Ferrara, *^B 
reached San Nicolo del Lido on the lOtli. Thence he ^^B 

was conducted with great pomp to S. Mark's. The 
ambassadors of the Lombard League were for the most part 
already assembled. The Emperor was represented by his 
chancellor, Christian of Mayence. There seemed to be small 
prospect of settUng the questions in dispute between the 
Emperor and the Lombards. And while negotiations were 


in progreas, Frederick reached Chioggia on 13th July, The 
Lombard representatives took alarm and withdrew 
to Treviso. The Pope and his cardinals were in 
terror, until aasiired by the Sicilinu ambassador that the four 
Sicilian galleys were at their disposal. Whatever intentions 
the Emperor may have had, he saw at once that nothing could 
be gained now by a cmip de main. He accordingly 
informed the cardinals that he was ready to swear the peace, 
and charged Heinrich von Dietz to take the preliminary oath 
on his behalf. The cardinals and the Lombard ambassadors 
letumed to Venice; and on the 2 2nd July, Heinrich von 
Dietz, in the presence of the I'ope, the cardinals, the 
Lombard and Italian ambassadors, swore that the Emperor 
would conclude a truce of six years witli the Lombards, 
and of fifteen with the King of Sicily. The Pope then gave 
formal permission to the Doge to invite Frederick to Venice. 

The Doge sent his son to Chioggia with six galleys. 
They brought Frederick and hia suite to San Nicolo del 
Lido on the 23rd July. That was on Sunday evening. 
On Monday moniing early, the Pope, aurrounded by the 
whole clergy, the ambassadors of Sicily, and the rectors of 
the Lombard League, went to the church of S. Mark, before 
whose main portal a splendid throne had been erected. 

Meantime representatives of the Pope had been sent to 
the Emperor at San Nicolo. To these the Emperor declared 
■that he abjured the schism ; his suite did the same. The 
Insliops of Ostia, Porto, and Paleatrina then absolved the 
Imperial party, and received them once more into the bosom 
of the Church. On learnuig the conclusion of this ceremony, 
the Pope requested the Doge and the Patriarch, the bishops 
uid nobles, to conduct the Emperor to his presence. Frederick 
took hia place in the ducal gondola, between the Doge and 
the Patriarch of Grado ; and, in procession, he was conducted 
across the lagoon to the Molo of S. Mark. There he landed, 
and passed up the Piazzetta till lie came in front of the 
basilica, where the Pope was waiting him, seated on his 
throne. At the sight of Alexander, Frederick removed his 
cloak, humbly approached the Pope, and, bending down, 
foot. Alexander raised the Emperor, and bestowed 


on him the kiss of peace. Then to the sound of the Tt 
Deum Frederick and the Doge led the Pope to the 
high altar. There the Emperor placed his offerings, 
received once more the papal benediction, and retired with 
his suite to the ducal palace. 

The following day, the Feast of S. James, the Pope 
himself celebrated mass, while Frederick served as his acolyte. 
After the Gospel, Alexander preached a sermon to the 
Emperor ; but perceiving from his countenance that he did 
not thoroughly grasp the drift of the discourse, the Pope 
ordered the Patriarch of Aquileia to translate his remarks 
into German. At the close of this trying ceremony the 
Emperor and his nobles bent the knee once more to 
Alexander, kissed his foot, and conducted him to the door 
of the church. There Frederick held the stirrup of the 
papal mule while Alexander mounted, and was about to 
lead him towards the Molo; but the Pope, satiated no 
doubt with his triumph, dispensed the Emperor from this 
further humiliation, and dismissed him with his blessing. 

On the 1st August the o£&cial ratification of the fifteen 
years* peace with Sicily, and the six years' truce with the 
Lombard League, took place in the Patriarch's palace ; and 
the Congress of Venice was formally closed upon the 14th 
of the same month. 

The Emperor and Pope continued their sojourn in the 
city for some time longer. The Venetians employed the 
occasion to conclude special treaties with both. From the 
Emperor they obtained confirmation of all previous diplomas 
granted by Emperors of the West. The Venetians were to 
enjoy free passage and safe conduct throughout the Empire ; 
the subjects of the Empire were to enjoy similar privileges 
" as far as Venice and no farther " — words which Venetian* 
liistorians are disposed to interpret as recognising Venetian 
supremacy in tlie Adriatic. 

From the Pope they secured such advantages as he 
was able to bestow — ^indulgences in various churches. A 
sacramental complexion was given to the ancient ceremony of 
Ascension Day. Instead of a placatory or expiatory function, 
it became nuptial. Henceforth the Doge every year dropped a 


I -oonseciated ring into the sea, and with the words Dcsponsamus 
ie, mare, declared that Venice and the sea were 
indissolubly one. 
The most important advantage which the Republic derived 
firom the Congreas of Venice was the final settlement of the 
interminable disputes between the patriarchal Sees of Grado 
and Aquileia. The Patriarch of Grado abandoned all claim on 
the relics, treasures, etc., stolen by Patriarch Poppo in 1016. 
On . the other hand, the Patriarch of Aquileia consented to 
a delimitation of his jurisdiction, which excluded the lagoons, 
Istria, and Dalmatia; and thus a ganging plea of many 
centuries was finally adjudicated. The Emperor left Venice 
on the 18th September, and the Pope on the 16th October. 
The gain which Venice had derived from the recent 
Congress had been chiefly a gain of parade. The eyes of 
"Western Europe were directed to the city of the lagoons 
I as the meeting-place of the two great powers, spiritual and 
temporal ; the Doge of Venice appeared as the friend and 
hoet of both Pope and Emperor ; he had borne himself well 
I in that exalted company. The Venetians saw every reason 
i^ to be satisfied. The presence of tbe Congress in their city 
I had caused a great influx of strangers — a circumstance which 
■ Venice, for obvious considerations, has always extremely 
[ enjoyed. Their national vanity had been flattered, and 
they had not let their guests depart without leaving some- 
thing behind them. It was a lucky accident rather than 
deliberate policy which placed Venice in this felicitous 
position. The attack upon her factories in Constantinople 
bad diverted her whole attention from her duties to the 
Lombard League, and gave her conduct an appearance of 
sufficient neutrality to satisfy the Emperor ; while her share 
in creating the Verona League, which was the basis of 
muuicipal resistance to Frederick, had assured the Pope and 
the Lombards that she was not at heart an Imperial city. 
She understood how to utilise her advantage. She arranged 
her own affairs with Pope and Emperor while they were 
still with her, still satisfied with the result of the Congress 
to which Venice had materially assisted. The subsequent 
proceedings of all parties had no further interest for the 


Itepublic, and she woa not even represented at the peace q 
Constance in 1183, 

Venice had passed with success through a period 
of great difficulty. Her constitution had become more solid ; 
her importance in general history had been enormously Id- 
creased. The outward appearance of the city itself reflected 
this advance. To Ziani is attributed that beautiful loggia 
of larch beams, once open, which is now encased behind the 
upper colonnade on the west side of the ducal palace. To 
him, too, is due the first pavement of the Piazza, and the 
erection of those two immortal columns with which the 
pictorial aspect of the city is for ever associated. They 
were raised into position by one Nicolo Barattiere, from the 
place where they had lain ever since they were brought 
from the East, in the time of Michiel II. Barattiere de- 
manded as his recompense permission to keep gambling- 
tables between their shafts. This was granted ; but the 
benefit and the evil were quickly neutralised by the choice 
of that very spot for the execution of criminals. The same 
Nicolo is also credited with the constmction of the firet 
I'onte di Eialto, a wooden bridge, probably not unlike that 
which is represented in Carpaccio's picture of the Miracle 
of the Cross in the Academy. 

The Doge was seventy-six years old. He had guided 
Venice through a dangerous but brilliant period. He desired 
to withdraw from public life, and obtained leave to do so. 
But before retiring he indited a most interesting and valuable 
political testament. He himself was the first Doge elected 
under a new regime. He had enjoyed the opportunity of 
watching the young constitution at work. It was impossible 
that this constitution should not display its inherent quality 
in the slow division of classes in the State. The creation 
of a council inevitably marked off those who were inside 
from those who were not. The State of Venice was already 
face to face with the oligarchy and the people as its two 
great factors. That Ziaai should have realised the situation 
80 soon is a testimony to his political acumen. His advice was 
summed up thus, " Leave a career of honour and office open 
to the more powerful citizens " : that is virtually a plea for 



extensioD, for elasticity in the young oligarcby, a hint that 
the time had not yet come for making the oligarchy 
rigid ; and, secondly, " Take care that the people never 
suffer famine " : a warning that contented masses were the 
only medium in which the State could achieve its oligarchic 
tendency, without the danger of an open rupture. He also 
suggested a modification in the method of electing the 
Doge. It appeared to him that eleven electors fonned too 
small a body to represent fairly the mass of the Council, 
which was now virtually the constituency. He therefore 
proposed that the Council should elect four members, who 
in their turn should appoint forty, each one of whom required 
three out of the four votes. These forty should then 
proceed to elect the new Doge by a majority. 

The new process resulted in the choice of Orio 
Malipiero, whose reign was chiefly occupied with 
oriental affairs. Towards tlie close of the pre- 
vious reign there had been a rapprocliemmt between 
Venice and Constantinople, brought about by Manuel's 
dislike of seeing Venice and the Normans in such close 
alliance. In order to weaken this combination Manuel had 
replaced the Venetians in all their privileges at Constan- 
tinople, and had restored the property confiscated in 1171 ; 
moreover, as an indemnity for damage suffered, he promised 
1500 pounds weight of gold, Manuel died in 1180 and 
was succeeded by his young son Alexius I L, who was quickly 
deposed by his relation Andronicus. In the process of 
seizing Constantinople Andronicus's Paphlagonian troops 
committed atrocities upon the Latin population. They fled 
to the various courts of Europe seeking vengeance on the 
^rant. A favourable reception awaited them from William 
of Sicily, who manned a fleet and sailed with his aUies 
the Venetians to attack Andronicus. Durazzo and Thessa- 
lonica fell, and the Normans were pushing on towards 
Constantinople when a revolution in that city drove 
Andronicus from the throne. Isaac Angelo Comuene took 
his place. The Normans, however, still pressed forward. 
No donbt they were only half pleased at a revolution which 
had deprived them of any plausible excuse for sacking 



the richest city in the worli They were defeated and 

Immediately afterwards we find the Venetians 
concluding a most friendly treaty with the new Emperor. 
The causes for this sudden warmth are not fetr to seek. 
The betrothal of Henry, heir of the Hohenstaufens, to Con- 
stance, heiress of Sicily, was absolutely opposed to Venetian 
interests. The union of the kingdom of Sicily and the 
Empire in one and the same hands would have constituted 
a serious danger for the Bepublic. Hitherto the Emperor 
had been homeless in Italy, the mere personification of an 
idea, disembodied and powerless, except in so far as he was 
able to create combinations favourable to his purposes. Thanks 
to the feudal system of military service, his foreign troops could 
not be maintained for long in the peninsula, and Italians cared 
nothing for his aims unless they were able to use his power 
against a hated neighbour. But if the Emperor once became 
not merely the nominal overlord of Italy, but actually a 
reigning prince in Italy, the case would wear quite another 
aspect The menace of a powerful Western Emperor 
reproduced in Venice the policy which had become traditional 
The Eepublic drew towards the Empire of the East, and the 
result was seen in the treaty concluded with Isaac 
in 1187. Venice bound herself to furnish from 40 
to 100 galleys when called on. The Emperor would supply 
the money ; Venice the officers ; the men were to be raised 
at the rate of three men out of every four from among the 
Venetian population of the Eastern dominions. As each 
galley required 140 rowers, this would imply that the male 
Venetian population of the Empire serviceable for war 
exceeded 18,000 men. The Venetians were to receive in 
return a quarter in every city conquered by the fleet The 
Emperor bound liimself to protect Venetian property wher- 
ever attacked, and swore to accept no peace from which 
Venice was excluded. 

The good accord with Isaac left Venice free to turn her 
attention to the reduction of Zara, which was in its normal 
state of rebellion. But the exchequer was exhausted. A 
new loan was raised, redeemable in twelve years, secured 

..87. , 


apoii the salt monopoly, and under a guarantee that no further 
debt would be incurred for two yeara to coine. The 
Government, following, it would seem, the advice 
given by Ziani never to allow the people to suffer hunger, 
preferred to raise loans from wealthy inliabitants rather than 
to replenish the exchequer by direct taxation. That was a 
system which might be pursued as long as the revenue was 
steadily growing, as it must have been at this period of 
Venetian history. But Zara was not to be subdued this 
time The siege proved tedious. The "Venetians grew tired 
of it, and seized the pretext of the papal appeal for a new 
Crusade to retire altogether. 

The Venetiaa^ took part in the disastrous third Crusade 
with little gloiy and leas profit to themselves. The Doge 
signalised his reign rather by a reform of the judicial system 
than by feats of arms. It is under Malipiero that we find 
the establishment of that Council of Forty which eventually 
became the high court of the Venetian forum. The Senate, 
or Pregadi, as we know, had not jet been erected into a 
Jtermanent body ; and tlie Council of Forty was intended, 
originally, to supply the place of a consultative assembly, 
aubaequently occupied by the Senate. When the Senate 
was permanently established the Forty still remained, but 
entirely as a judicial body. 

The court of the Ua/jistralo dd Proprio was relieved of 

llBOme of its duties by the creation of a new court called 

'del Forestier, whose formation is a proof of the rapid develop- 

tnent of population, resident and temporary, in the lagoon 

city ; for the new court was especially designed to try cases 

.Iwtween foreigners, whereas litigation between Venetian 

^citizens was left to the more ancient magistracy. Originally 

the Doge liad appointed the judges of the Maf/istrato del 

■J^ropi-io ; now appointments to both benches were made in 

le Great Council Causes in which the iiac was concerned, 

rere heard before the Avogadari di C'omun, or Procurators 

the Itepublie — a bench of the highest importance, which 

^ntvially performed, among other functions, that of 

heralds' College. 

The reign of Maliptero's successor, Enrico Dandolo, is 


the most memorable that we have reached as jet in the coiirse 
of this history. Venice was once more called on to 
play a part, and that the most prominent part, in 
European history. She committed a great crime, and thereby 
sowed the seeds of a lifelong pimishment Throughout the 
story of the fourth Crusade the Republic displays herself in 
her true colours — able, self-reliant, astute, single-minded, 
selfish, practical, and, as sometimes happens in the history 
of a nation, she was led by a man who was completely iden- 
tified with the spirit of his race. Venice expressed herself 
in Enrico Dandolo ; the Doge was the personification of the 
community which he ruled. 

When he came to the throne Dandolo was already an 
old man, and partially blind. He had served the State as 
ambassador to Constantinople, where he acquired his hatred 
of the Greeks, and lost his sight. His whole career shows 
him to have been a man of most determined will, and of 
great personal courage — ^''de bien gran cceur," says Ville- 
hardouin. His country had suffered at the hands of 
Manuel ; his own person had suffered. Venetian commercial 
supremacy in the East was threatened by the hostility of 
the Imperial Court. Public and private reasons combined 
to fill him with a desire for revenge, and a determination to 
restore his nation to her former superiority. The history of 
the fourth Crusade is very largely the history of the way in 
wliich Dandolo pursued and cu^complished his end. 

Venetian commerce in the East was threatened by two 
great rivals^ — Pisa and Genoa. Down to the middle of the 
twelfth century Venice had succeeded in preserving what 
was virtually a monopoly of Levantine trade. The Amalfitani 
had been crushed in 1126. But with the accession of 
Manuel in 1 1 43, a change of policy took place. The Emperor, 
partly from a desire to benefit his dominions, partly in order 
to check the excessive commercial development of the 
Venetians, partly too in resentment against Venice for the 
share she was taking in the Crusades and their spoils, began 
to favour the two other trading States, Pisa and Genoa. 
From this time forward there was a continual struggle 
between Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese to gain the 



upper hand in Constantinople. The desire to secure such 
a superiority for Venice was one of the main 
elements of Dandolo's conduct throughout the fourth 

Other causes of friction between the maritime com- 
ninmties were not wanting. Dandolo attempted to recover 
Zara, which was atOI in a state of rebeUion. The people of 
Zara appealed to the Pisans for lielp, A Fisan fleet sailed 
Dp the Adriatic and captured Pola, which was soon after 
recovered. Again, in 1201 news reached Venice that the 
usurper Alexius III. was in treaty with Genoa for the 
concession of ampler trading rights. Everything, therefore, 
conspired to prepare the Eepublic, and the man who ruled 
it, for an attack on the capital of the Eastern Empire. 

While matters were at this point, circumstances placed 
within the reach of Venice a weapon for the aceomphsh- 
ment of her purpose. 

The preaching of the fourth Crusade began in 1197. 
When Pope Innocent III. ascended the throne in the 
following year he devoted his grea,t energy to carrying on 
the work. The Crusade became his chief delight. He 
found his preacher in Fulk of Neuilly, By the year 1200, 
tnatters were so far advanced that it was time to charter 
A fleet for transport of the host and to select a place of 
departure. A meeting held at Soissona resolved to send six 
messengers to Venice in order to conclude a bai^ain with 
the great maritime Republic. Probably no other State 
have furnished the necessary ships ; and the Crusaders 
no choice but to select Venice. That choice, liowever, 
ived disastrous to the Crusade, and also to Europe. 
The six ambassadors, among whom was Geoffrey de 
Villehardouin, Marslial of Champagne and historian 
of the Crusade, arrived in Venice in February 1201. 
days later they had an audience of the Doge in 
I, at the ducal palace, which they describe as " right rich 
fair." They presented their credentials, and announced 
,t they had been sent by the noble Barons of France, who 
taken the Cross, to beg Venice to have pity on the " Land 
Outremer," and to provide ships of war and transport 

The Doge demanded time to consider the request. At 
end of a week the ambassadors were summoned to 
the palace, and the Doge said, " Sirs, we will give 
you transports for 4500 horses, 9000 esquires, 4500 
knights, and 20,000 foot, together with provisions for one 
year from the day of sailing ou the service of God and of 
Christendom, in whatsoever place it may be. For this you 
shall pay us 85,000 marks of silver. Cologne weight. 
Further, for the honour of God, we will send 50 galleys, 
on condition that, of all conquests by sea and land, half 
shall be ours and half yours." 

The ambassadors replied, tlie following day, signifj-ing 
their readiness to conclude the bargain. The Doge said that 
he must firet consult his Council of Forty, and would then 
submit the pro^xisal to a general assembly. Mass was cele- 
brated in S. Mark's, and ViUehardouin, in the name of the 
Barons of France, formally asked the Venetian people to 
assist in the enterprise for the Holy Land. The answer came 
back in a great shout of " We agree." 

A formal contract was drawn up and signed eai 
in April The date on which the ships were to be read] 
was fixeil for the Feast of SS. Peter aud Paul ; tlie amount 
and quality of provisions were determined. The Crusaders 
bound themselves to pay the 85,000 marks in rates — 15,000 
on the 1st August; 10,000 on All Saints; 10,000 on the 
Purification, and the remainder by the end of April 1202. 

Innocent confirmed the contract, but with distrust. 
He knew the temper of the Venetians. He woidd have 
preferred a treaty with Genoa and Pisa, But that was 
impossible. He did his best to guard the Crusade from the 
danger he already suspected, by stipulating that there should 
be no attack made on a Christian power, and tliat a I^egate 
should accompany the fleet, But in judging tlie subsequent 
conduct of A'enice we must bear in mind that she had made 
her baigain with the Crusaders, not with the Pope ; that 
the papal conditions were not in the bond which she 
had signed ; that, from a purely commercial point of 
view, — the only view recognised by Venice as yet, — she 
was in no way fettered by the wishes of the Pope. 




had made a strictly business contract; religious sentiment 
held no place in it. Slie had not pledged herself to 
become a Crusader ; she merely promised so much 
for 30 much. As long as she fulfilled her side of the bargain 
she could not be in the wrong, and the French Barons at 
least, neither asked nor expected more. 

It has been said that from the very first there was a 
secret imderstanding between the leaders of the Crusade 
that Egypt should be their destination, though the decision 
was kept secret from the army, which was told that it 
was to go to the Land Ontremer. Such an agreement may 
have existed. Alexandria offered a good base of operations ; 
previous Crusades had shown how a great army might be 
wtisted away in the long march through Asia Minor ; sea 
communications were more easily maintained than those 
on land, especially with the Venetian navy as an ally ; 
Egypt, moreover, was a particularly easy prey at this 
moment, owing to a famine caused by five years of a low 
Nile. But there is no proof that the Venetians had any 
cognisance of such a secret resolve. As yet, they were 
hardly concerned in the destination of the fleet ; they 
faftd merely bound themselves to supply ships ; the Doge 
had used the phrase " for the service of God, in whatsoever 
place it may be." Their contingent of fifty galleys was 
not about to sail for love of the Cross, but in the 
baecaneering spirit of seizing half of any conquests 

.that might be made by the host. It is necessary to say 
this, because tlie fact that the iJeet never reached Egypt 
at all has been laid at the door of Dandolo. who is accused 
of having, from the very first, resolved that the Crusaders 

.should not touch Alexandria ; the reason for this resolve 
being that he had already concluded an advantageous treaty 

[■with the Sultan of Egypt, Malek-Adel (July 1202). But 
Venice was free to make a treaty with the Sidtan if she 

lehose. The Crusaders publicly said they were going to the 
Holy Land ; the Venetians contracted to take them there. 

'.This contract could not be a bar to any commercial treaties 

.which Venice was able to secure. The Pope was right in 

ttttinldng that the Venetians were not fit persons to cany 



the Crusaders. But they cannot be accused of treachery 

unless they broke their contract, which they did 

•^ "^ 1 202. 


But here, in this question of the diversion of the fourth 
Crusade, we are in the presence of one of those historical 
problems the solution of which is still under discussion. In 
the following account we shall avoid controversy as far as 
possible, and confine ourselves to a narrative of events. The 
facts about the first diversion of the Crusade to Zara are plain 
enough. They are these : — The Venetians fulfilled their part 
of the bargain to the letter. By the appointed day the 
appointed number of ships with their provisions were ready 
and waiting for their passengers. But the Crusaders were 
not equally prompt to fulfil their obligations. When, in 
June 1202, the General Assembly of the Crusaders 
was reviewed on the Lido of San Nicolo, where they had 
been lodged, it was found that not nearly the whole number 
of passengers had reached Venice. Out of the 4500 knights 
only 1000 were ready to sail. Meanwhile, the Venetian 
ships lay there, all ready ; never was a finer fleet seen upon 
those waters ; but the men to fill it were wanting. The 
strangers who had reached Venice, moreover, liad l>een 
relieved of most of their money during their long journey 
across Lombardy. When the Doge came to ask for pay- 
ment, as agreed on, it was found that th^ utmost exertion of 
the Crusaders still left a deficit of 34,000 marks. 

The Venetians, who had always looked upon their part 
of the business as a commercial transaction, declined to 
set sail According to one account the Doge is reported 
to have said to the signatories of the contract, " If you do 
not pay you shall not move from the Lido." That 
remark expresses the Venetian view of the casa The 
French Barons and their men were virtually prisoners to the 
Bepublic, which intended to lead them and use them as 
best suited its own purposes. Villehardouin lays the blame 
for this situation upon those Crusaders who had failed to 
come to Venice as commanded, and who had taken ship in 
other ports. 

When it became quite clear that no more money was 



; forthcoming, Uandolo suggested a compromise. The great 
object of the cruaadiug chiefs was to set sail. The 
Doge offered to postpone the receipt of the 34,000 
marks imtil their first success should place the Crusaders 
in funds, and prouiiaed to sail at once, on condition that 
the arinameut stopped on its way to reduce Zara. A 
division of opinion immediately made itself felt. Those 
who were tired of the expedition, and they were not a 
few, declared it an impiety to turn the Cruaade against a 
Christian city, in possession of a king who had himself 
taken the Cross, The leaders and the majority accepted 
the proposal as the only way out of the difficulty. The 
most that can be urged against Venice in lier conduct of 
the whole affair, so far, is that she stood hard by fier bargain, 
and when the other party failed, she made the most she 
.could out of the situation. 

In Jidy.Peter Capuano, Cardinal andPapal Legate, arrived 
■with orders to oppose the diversion of the fleet to Zara. He 
cleared out the idlers, the sick, and the loose women from 
ihe crasading camp on the Lido. The Venetians gave the 
Cardinal to understand that they did not consider them- 
selves bound by the wishes of the Pope, who was no party 
to their contract ; if the Legate chose to accompany the 
Cruaade as a preacher, well and good ; if he proposed to 
take any part in the direction of affairs, he Iiad better 
stay at home. In the face of this determined and cynical 
attitude, Peter Capuano was also driven to give Iiis consent 
the attack on Zara He made one condition, that the 
'euetians should not merely transport the army, but should 
lemselves join the Crusadei-s. The Oovernment consented, 
id on the 25th August, at mass in S. Mark's, Dandolo 
.blicly asked liis people whether they were content that 
should take the Cross. The reply was a strong affirmative. 
Doge was led to the high altar and the holy symbol was 
Led to his bonnet. 

This is a most important episode ; for it proves that the 

Venetians, «p to this point, were not Crusaders, were under 

me of the obligations implied in the Crusaders' vow, and 

no way to blame for their strictly business-like behaviour. 


But, further, the assumption of the Cross was, from the 
Venetian point of view, a serious error ; it entirely 
altered their position. After that, the Republic could 
no longer act as a free agent ; she placed herself under obliga- 
tions and duties which clashed with her proposed objects. 
Slie sacrificed her obligations to her desires. In taking the 
crusader's vow Venice was insincere. That deed was intended 
by the Venetians to facilitate the sailing of the fleet, to over- 
come the Legatine objections, to hasten the desired reduction 
of Zara. The policy is typical of Venice. It displays her 
supreme egotism, her single-eyed consideration of her own 
interests. But the act was a fraud. The genuine crusaders, 
the Pope and the Pope's Legate, all indulged in a hope that, 
by inducing Venice to assume the cross, they could cajole 
her out of the steady pursuit of her own ends ; could nullify 
the unholy effect of their contract with her about Zara. 
They persuaded themselves that the vow would bind Venice 
as it bound them. Venice never intended that it should. 

But the way was now opened for the sailing of the 
fleet. The Crusaders, who had been imprisoned for so many 
months on the feverish Lido, were overjoyed at the prospect 
Tlie Venetians were impatient to attack Zara. By October 
everything was ready. 

Tlie fleet presented a most imposing spectacle. Tower- 
ing above the rest rode the three great galleys, the EagU, 
the PUgrim, and the Paradise, surrounded by more than 
three hundred other ships. The display of heraldry, with 
all the brilliant hues that distinguish armorial bearings, 
must have been superb. The Venetian galleys bore the 
golden lion of S. Mark upon a crimson ground. Each noble 
Baron unfurled his ensign to the breeze. The Doge's own 
galley was painted vermilion ; the others were all bedecked 
with shields, placed in rows along the bulwarks. So to the 
sound of trumpets and the chant of the Veni Crea^-ar, the 
fourth Crusade set sail. 

The Doge made a triumphal entry into Trieste. Thence 
he passed on down the Dalmatian coast, till he arrived off 
Zara and laid siege to it. The city was panic-stricken, and 
ready to yield. It sent ambassadors into the Crusaders* 


camp to negotiate. But here the purely crusading party, 
the religious devotees, made themselves felt. In 
spite of their distinct understanding with Venice 
that they would assist in reducing Zara, they told the 
embassy that if the Zarentines chose to resist, the city need 
fcar no attack from the French portion of the armament. 

This was a flagrant breach of faith. It proved most 
disastrous to the people of Zara. In spite of letters from 
the Pope excommunicating all and any who should attack 
the town ; in spite of Simon de Montfort's resistance ; in 
flpite of the opposition raised by the Abbot of Vaux, who 
; to his feet in the Doge's tent, and cried, " I forbid 
you to attack this city. It is a city of Christian men, 
and ye are Crusaders " ; Dandolo proceeded to assault 
the town. It fell in five days. Zara was entered and 
plundered by both Venetians and Crusaders ; and the 
ieason being far advanced the fleet resolved to winter 

As yet, the destination of the annament was still the 
And OuiTemtr, the land of the infidel. But events now 
occurred which produced the second diversion of the fourth 
Crusade from its proper object. 

In the year 1195, Isaac Comnene had been driven from 
"the throne by his kinsman Alexius. Isaac was blinded, and 
along with his son, Alexius the young, was confined in prison. 
In the spring of 1301, the lad Alexins escaped from Con- 
stantinople on board a Pisan ship. His object was to 
secure assistance and to recover the throne for his father. 
The person to whont he turned first was Philip of Swabia, 
hia brother-in-law, who had married a daughter of Isaac. 
Young Alexius found Philip at Warzbui^, and stayed there 
till the end of the year. At the Court he met Boniface of 
^Montferrat, the destined leader of the fourth Crusade. It is 
that Philip promised Alexins to restore him to his 
intiy, and contemplated using the Crusade for this purpose. 
3 reasons urged Philip to favour Alexius. By diverting 
B Crusade from the Holy Land he would ruin Innocent's 
rarest object in life. This Philip was anxious to do, 
Kcause the Pope was supporting his rival Otto of Brunswick, 


and had placed Philip himself under excommunication. And 
secondly, Philip had dreams of uniting in his own 
person the Empires of West and East, to which he 
constructed a fanciful claim through his wife. Philip, then, 
was prepared to divert the Crusade. He found its leader, 
Boniface, willing to help him. Boniface had private 
reasons for desiring to go to Constantinople. Through his 
brother, Conrad, he claimed the kingdom of Salonica, and 
thought he might endeavour to recover his crown by the 
help of the Cross. Accordingly Philip and Boniface agreed 
that, if possible, the fourth Crusade should be diverted from 
the Holy Land to the capital of the East. Foreseeing that 
Innocent would raise violent objections to such a proceeding, 
Philip sent young Alexius to Rome in the hope of obtaining 
the Pope's consent, by holding out the prospect of a union 
between the Churches of East and West. But the Pope 
refused to fall into the trap. He expressly forbade the 
Crusaders to attack the Boman Empire. 

The Crusaders were still before Zara when messengers 
arrived from Philip to recommend Alexius and his cause. 
In the young man's name, Philip promised that if Uie 
Crusaders restx)red Alexius to his father's throne, the lad, 
when Emperor, would unite the Churches under Borne; 
would supply 200,000 marks of silver; would send 
10,000 men with them into the Holy Land'; and would, for 
the rest of his life, maintain a guard of 500 knights in 

For reasons already explained, Philip and Boniface found 
in Dandolo a willing adherent to their plan for attacking 
Constantinople. The Venetians offered no objections. But 
to make assurance doubly sure, the proposals of Alexius 
contained special clauses m favour of Venice. The hire of 
the fleet was to be continued for another year, and the 
KepubUc was to receive 100,000 marks. 

The most vigorous opposition to these proposals was 
offered by the genuine Crusaders. But the influence of 
Dandolo and Boniface prevailed. The terms were accepted. 
The Heet left Zara, after demolishing its walls, and reached 
Corfu. Here it was joined by young Alexius. He solemnly 

I ratified the Conventiou of Zara, concluded in Jiis name, The 
genuine Crusaders made a last attempt to prevent 
the iniquity of a consecrated army being turned 
away from the sacred Sepnlchi-e to attack the capital of 
Christendom ; but the tears of Dandolo and Boniface, which 
represented 100,000 marks and a year's pay in the one case, 
and 100,000 marks and the crown of Salonica in the other, 
overcame the devotees. The whole annament sailed from 
Corfu, and made a sort of imperial progress with young 
Alexius as their centre, receiving homage as he went. On 
the 23rd June they cast anchor twelve miles from Constanti- 
nople, near the abbey of San Stefano. 

From San Stefano the fleet moved up the Boaphorus to 

I Chalcedon, and thence to Scutari, on the Asiatic shore, just 

' Opposite the walls, the palaces, the towers of the Imperial 

city. Alexius the elder, alarmed at this demonstration, sent 

to inquire what were the objects of the Crusaders, and to offer 

assistance if they would leave his territory. The answer 

was that the territory belonged to young Alexius, for whom 

I they demanded a surrender of the city. 

The leaders of the Crusatle then plaee'd Alexius on 

I Ixiard a galley, and accompanied by the whole fleet they 

1. crossed the Bosphorus until they were right under the city 

iralls, which were thronged by a curious crowd. They 

proclaimed Alexius as the rightful heir; but those on the 

ramparts merely laughed in scorn, " Who is he ? we do not 

know him." 

■ An attack on the city was designed. The undertaking 

Vveemed desperate. Constantinople enjoyed the reputation of 

^ l>eing impregnable ; and it liad frequently proved its claim to 

he 80 considered. But nothing could daunt the confidence 

and self-reliance of Dandolo, the master spirit of the siege. 

The mouth of the Golden Horn was guarded by a great chain, 

1 one end of which was in the city itself, the other protected 

H*1^ a tower in Galata, Dandolo at once determined to 

^kssault the tower which commanded the Galata end of the 

chain. He was successful. The Greek gan'ison of the 

tower made a sortie, was repulsed, and the Crusaders 

entered the tower with those who were trying to regain its 



shelter. The chain was slipped from its Galata end, sank, and 
the Venetian fleet sailed into the Golden Horn. They 
instantly charged the Imperial galleys, captured some, 
rammed others, and at one blow had gained a position 
opposite the weakest walls of the city, those which lined 
the shores that look towards Pera. 

The Crusaders resolved to follow up their first success by 
a general assault This was to be given by the Venetians 
from the sea ; by the Crusaders from land. The land army 
passed on from Galata round the top of the Golden Horn, 
by the Sweet Waters, which were undefended, and took up 
their position opposite the palace of Blachem. 

On the 17th July all was ready. The Crusaders de- 
livered their attack in four divisions, under the command of 
Baldwin. Their scaling apparatus was placed against the 
walls, and for a moment the Flemings gained and held a 
footing. But the Danish and English guard, together with 
the Pisans, steadily drove the Flemings back ; and the first 
attack on the land side failed. 

The assault by sea was more successful. The galleys 
were covered ^ith raw skins to resist the terrible Greek fire. 
Gangways of poles and hides were placed on the tops, and 
from these the soldiery passed on to the walls, or fought 
their defenders hand to hand. With indomitable 'energy 
Dandolo, standing under the banner of S. Mark, directed 
the operations and inspired the courage of his men. He 
ordered the crew of his own ship to draw closer in. He 
seized the banner of the patron saint, and, imder a rain of 
bolts and stones, he sprang ashore, on the narrow strip 
between the sea and the walls. The Venetians followed 
their Doge. A battering-ram was brought into play. The 
assault from the gangways was redoubled. Then suddenly 
the standard of the lion was seen flying from a tower. 
The defenders fled, and, in a few minutes, twenty-five towers 
were in possession of the invader. A dangerous rally of 
Imperial troops was effectually checked by the Doge's 
followers, who set fire to the houses inside the walls and 
drove the enemy back. But the Venetians were not able 
to maintain their position. News of the failure on the land 

side called Dandolo away to the support of the Criisadera. 

The Emperor Alexius made a sortie in force, but 

lacked the courage to attack. After some ineffectual 

manoeuvrings, which were watched by the ladies from the 

city walls, he withdrew into Constantinople. 

The attack had virtually failed. But events occurred 

inside the city which altered the whole aspect of affairs. 

I Alexius the elder, after hia feeble sortie, seems to have been 

anic-stricken. He tied. Isaac, the blind deposed Emperor, 

[ was led from his prison and placed once more on the 


This was a turn of events little pleasing to Boniface and 
' Dandolo, whose objects were by no means fulfilled through the 
restoration of Isaac. Yet this restoration left the Crusaders 
little excuse for continuing the siege. The rightful owner, 
the deposed Emperor, was once more on the throne. The 
satisfaction of his claims seemed to include all that Alexius, 
his heir, had a right to demand. 

There was one excuse, however, which might still serve 

I to keep the army before Constantinople, and to assist Boni- 

f face and Dandolo in achieving their respective aims. The 

I Zara Convention, accepted by Alexius, had to he ratified by 

' Isaac, and its terms fulfilled. Dandolo and Boniface both 

' wanted their money. Isaac complained that the terms were . 

excessively onerous. But he was grateful for the services 

which had placed him on his throne once more, and agreed 

to recognise his son's obhgations as his own. Young Alexius 

entered Constantinople, and was crowned as Emperor along 

I with his father. 

The exhaustion of the Imperial treasury, however, did not 
I permit Alexius to jeopardise his throne by excessive taxation 
ID order to satisfy the greedy horde outside the walls. As a 
matter of fact he did pay a large part of the sum stipulated, 
much as 100,000 marks, of which half went to the 
Venetians, besides the 34,000 marks due to them for the 
remainder of their first year's hire. But the whole amount 
was not forthcoramg, and the Crusaders refused to take less- 
Then followed a long period of delays. The city was in a 
L-eontinual state of brawhug between Latins and Greeks ; fires 


were frequent. The Crusaders pressed for payment, even 
venturing to insult the Emperor in his palace. Isaac 
was old and blind and feeble ; Alexius had taken to 
toping with his fair-haired protectors ; he let them snatch 
his Imperial bonnet from his head and replace it with their 
own rough caps; he lost all hold over the respect and 
allegiance of the Greeks. Popular feeling rose steadily higher 
and higher. It was guided by Alexius Ducas, and took final 
shape in January 1204. In his alarm at an expected revolu- 
tion Alexius invited Boniface to garrison the palace. This 
act of treason to the Greeks precipitated matters. Alexius 
Ducas struck his blow. He seized Alexius the yoimg, 
imprisoned, and probably poisoned him. Isaac died of 
grief, and Ducas became Emperor. 

The revolution in the city came opportunely for Boniface 
and Dandolo. They had, at last, a good excuse for attacking 
Constantinople. Negotiations between Dandolo and Alexias 
Ducas failed, as they were doubtless intended to fail. 
The besiegers resolved to assault the city; they made a 
prospective division of the prey. It was agreed that 
six Venetians and six Crusaders should meet and choose 
an Emperor; that the Patriarch should be elected from 
the nation which had not secured the throne. The whole 
spoils were to be quartered. One quarter was to become 
the property of the Emperor, the other three quarters were 
to be divided between the Franks and the Venetians, who 
would thus be lords of a quarter and half a quarter of the 
new Eome — a title the Doges subsequently bore for many 
years. A joint committee was appointed to divide the 
Empire into fiefs, and to determine the nature of their 

The assault was given on 8th April, this time from the 
sea only. It failed, probably because the line of attack was 
too extended. The second assault, with a more concentrated 
attack, was delivered on the 12th. The operation proved 
successful. For the first time in its history Constantinople 
succumbed to a besieger. 

The city was given over to the Crusaders, whose 
atrocities may be explained, though not palliated, by their 



prolonged abstineuce. The army of the Cross became a 
scourge more terrible tlian any pagan host had ever 
been. " Instead of defending the tomb of Christ, you 
have outraged His faithful. You have used Christians worse 
than even the Arabs did," so aaid an eyewitness in his 
indignation. On the other hand, another eyewitness, the 
Marshal of Champagne, remark.9 with satisfaction, " Never 
since the creation of the world was there so much booty gained 
in one city." One was the rohbed, the other the robber. 

On the fall of Constantinople the victorious leaders pro- 
ceeded to elect an Emperor. The electors, as agreed, were six 
Venetians and six Crusaders. The candidates were three — 
Boniface the leader, Dandolo the hero, and Baldwin the 
noble. The Doge, however, gave it to be understootl tliat 
he would not accept election. He knew Venice weU enough 
to be convinced that the Eepublic would never tolerate 
such a step. But by this renunciation Dandolo became 
the most important factor in the choice of an Emperor. 
The Doge had virtually to weigh the claims of Boniface 
and of Baldwin. He knew Boniface well. He had been 
associated with the Marquis in the intricate direction of the 
Crusade ; his daughter is even said to have been wife of 
the Lord of Montferrat. But he also knew that Boni- 
face was ambitious, was an Italian prince, was a close ally 
of the Emperor Philip. His election would be dangerous 
for Venice. Baldwin was younger, less experienced, less 
energetic, and his domains more distant. The Doge 
declared for Baldwin. He was elected, and was crowned 
on 16th May 1204. 

Thus ended the fourth Crusade, which had set forth to 
free the Sepulchre of Christ and ended by overthrowing the 
Eastern Empire, and sacking the virgin city of Constan- 
tinople, Throughout the Crusade the Venetians, in the 
person of their Doge, played the leading role. The result 
to them may be summed up as follows. They had made 
a great display of independence and strength. They had 
successfully defied the Pope, and ignored his ecclesiastical 
weapons. Innocent, while deploring the sack of Con- 
stantinople, forgave the other Crusaders; the Venetians he 


could not pardon. He threw the whole blame on them — " It 
is you who have led the army of the Lord into a 
wicked path." 

On the other hand, the Bepublic had reaped a great 
reward in material aggrandisement. She was now absolute 
mistress of the Mediterranean. She acquired a vast 
increase in actual wealth from her share of the spoils. 
The Venetians bought Boniface's rights over Crete and 
Salonica, and obtained leave from the new Emperor for 
private individuals to occupy, as fiefs of the Empire, any 
of the -^gean islands not already held by the Eepublic, 
thereby securing to themselves the trade and commerce of 
the whole Levant. 

But nevertheless the attack on Constantinople was a 
crime. It brought its own punishment years afterwards. 
Tlirough the blow now dealt at the Eastern Empire the 
way was prepared for the occupation of that city by the 
Turks. Their establishment in Constantinople, facilitated 
by the present action of the Eepublic, left Venice sub- 
sequently exposed to a long series of wars, which she 
heroically sustained, it is true, but wliich broke her power, 
exhausted her strength, and materially contributed to her 
idtimate ruin. 


B Bcpablic grants &e& ia the'LeTUit — PUtro Ziani, Doge — The oon- 
sequenuca of the dettructioa of the Greek Empire — QueaUon of 
commuDications with Levant — Genoese pirates — Colouisatioa of Crete 

— The VeuetiaoB of Constantinople — Thretttoned split — Suggested 
abandDnment of Venice — Jaeopo Tupolo, Doge — Curtailment of ducal 
authority — Promiarionc i>ueaie^ Frederick II. — Venetian Podeatis in 
Italian towtia — Eccelino da Bomano : hia attack on Venice — League 
of Gregory IX., Genoa, Pisa, and Venice — War of Ferrara- — The Statuto 
of Tiepolo — Marino MoTOUini, Doge — Form of election b) the Doge- 
ship — The Inquisition in Venice : its position — The Ini|uiaitor'B 
arquatuT — The Savii alV hfrrsia — Rtnitr Zcno, Doge — Further exclusion 
of the people from a voice in the election of a Doge— Crusade againat 
Eccelino: hia death at Vimercate — Rivalry of Genoa in the East — 
QneatioQ of 8. Saha in Acre— Lorenzo Tiapolo's victory — The porphyry 
drum and the two Bf|uare pillars — War again — Venetian victory 

— Alexander IV. insists on a peace — Baldwin in diffioultiea — Uichcl 
Paleologus reatorea the Greek Empire — Paleologus favours Genoa — 
Straggle hetween Genoa and Venice — Venice victorious — Result at 
Conatantinople — Reault in Venice — Embellishment of the city — Public 
ceremonies- Death of the Doge. 

! fall of Constantinople and the partition of the Empire 
left Venice a large inheritance in the Eastern Medi- 
terranean. Het share included the Cyclades and 
iSporades, the islands on the east coast of Dalmatia, the mari- 
me cities of Thessaly; she bought Crete from the Marquis 
Moutferrat. She thiia acquired an unhroken line of 
wrts from Constantinople to the capital, and laid the 
Fundation of her commercial supremacy in the Levant 
hit the partition required to be made actual, and the 
tepublic was unable to face, at once, the conquest and 
ibfi defence of all these scattered possessions ; she therefore 
ppted a device, borrowed from feudalism, and granted flefs 



of the islands to those of her great-er citizens who i 
undertake the task of subduing them : thiia Andros 
went to the Daudolo; the Querini took Lampsacus; 
Barozzi, Santorin ; the Sanudo became Dutes of the Archi- 

The Venetians, however, were very soon to learn the 
full significance of the sack of Constantinople, and what 
was implied by the destruction of the Byzantine Empire. 
The death of Enrico Dandolo took place in 1205. He was 
buried with great pomp in S. Sophia in Constantinople, and 
at Venice his successor, Pietro Ziani, was elected by the 
new method of forty electors. 

The difficulties to which Venice was exposed by the 
destruction of the Greek Empire became, abundantly 
manifest in the reign of Ziani. The Venetians had 
hardly realised that the security of their Eastern possessions 
depended to a very large extent upon the strength and stability 
of the Eastern Empire. They had assisted the Crusaders 
to destroy a government which, if not invariably powerful, 
was well established and enjoyed a great prestige. They 
had been instrumental in replacing that government by one 
of the weakest aud most vacillating empires the world has 
ever seen. They forgot that the great extension of then 
dominions, while it raised them to the rank of a EuropeaL 
power, roused the jealousy of their maritime rivals in Italy. 
They did not perceive that, as theirs were the largest 
interests iu the East, the rest of Europe would leave them 
to defend those interests single-handed. In short, by the 
sack of Constantinople Venice had created an Eastern 
Question, the ditRculty and insolubility of which were to 
haunt her throughout the rest of her career. 

With the extension of Venetian possessions and 
Venetian commerce in the Levant, the q^nestion of the 
communications between the mother-city and her colonies 
acquired a growing importance. The jealousy whicli this 
expansion inspired pointed out to Genoa this weak spot in 
her rival's position. The seas between Corfu and Crete 
became infested with Genoese pirates, and one of the earliest 
operations of the new Doge was to sweep the cotsaiis 

) the cotsain | 



from those waters. The Venetian admirals were successful, 
s'c7i aloicnt parmi la tncr prenant lor enemis com vont 
H faucons prenant les oisaus, as the picturesque 
chronicler, Martin da Canal, puts it. These operations in 
the Levant, whose object was to establish free com- 
niunicationa between Venice and her new posses- 
sions, led to the settlement of Caudia and the appointment 
of the first Governor, or Duke, of Crete. The island was 
colonised by Venetian noble families, whose relation to the 
mother- country eventually proved the cause of serious trouble 
to the Eepublic. But at first, the obligations of the colonists 
were to defend the island, to furnish a contingent to the 
Venetian armament in time of war, to assist Venetian com- 
merce, to pray for the Doge on Christmas, Easter, the Feast 
of S. Mark, and the Feast of S. Titua. 

A more serious question thau that of communica- 
tions between mother-city and colonies was raised by the 
fall of Constantinople. Enrico Dandolo before his death 
had made arrangements for the proper government of the 
Venetians in the Imperial city. At the head of the 
administration was a Podesti, assisted by five judges, 
three councillors, a treasurer, procurators, a constable as 
the chief of the militia, and a captain -general sent from 

On the death of Dandolo the first signs of a diffi- 
culty appeared. The Venetians of Constantinople, without 
waiting for permission from Venice, proceeded to elect 
Marin Zeno their Podesti, with the title of lord of the 
fourth and a half of a fourth, of the Roman Empire ; 
he also adopted the red and the white stockings. Both the 
title and the dress were attributes of the Doge of Venice, 
And their assumption by the Venetian Podesti of Con- 
stantinople seems to indicate a tendency to break away 
from the mother-city in the lagoons. The Venetians of 
Venice were alarmed. They sent to inform their brothers 
in Constantinople that, for this time only, the election of 
the PodestJi would be recognised, but that for the future he 
must always be chosen in Venice. It was not at Constan- 
J^ople aloue, however, that the idea of change bad taken 


root. The growth of Venetian possessions in the East, the 
weakness of the new Empire, the distance of Venice 
from her colonies, all tended to encourage the belief 
that it would be not merely possible but even expedient to 
abandon Venice and to remove the seat of the govern- 
ment to the Imperial city. One of Ziani's first acts was 
to send an envoy to treat with the Podest^ Zeno, almost 
as with an equal or a rival, for the maintenance of the 
loyal relations between the Venetians of Constantinople and 
those of the lagoon. But the growing weakness of the 
Latin Empire became so serious that, as tradition reports, 
the Doge himself formally made the proposal to remove from 
Venice to the Eastern capital Though the speeches which 
preceded the famous Vote of Providence, whereby the pro- 
posal was rejected on a majority of one, are in all likeli- 
hood apocryphal, yet it is not uninteresting to recount 
their substance as showing what was the feeling of the 
Venetians upon this momentous question. On the one 
hand it was urged that Venetian interests were now 
entirely Eastern; that the centre of government was too 
far away from its possessions ; that the city of Venice was 
exposed to constant danger from earthquake and flood ; on 
the other hand, the patriotic sentiment of the Venetians 
was summoned to reject the proposed desertion of those 
kind islands in the lagoon, which had sheltered their fore- 
fathers, and which even now rendered Venice secure from 
all attack ; the patriots pointed out that Constantinople would 
not be easy to hold, and that if it were lost the Venetian 
race was lost ; whereas if they remained in the lagoons, they 
were imassailable. The motion is said to have found 320 
supporters and 321 in opposition, and hence the episode 
has received the name of the Vbto della Providenza from 
those who wished to mark their sense of the danger they 
had escaped. 

No doubt there had been a momentary danger that 
Venice might be abandoned. But it was nothing more 
than a passing thought. The Venetians were already a 
distinct nationality, a race apart, with interests which, 
though largely, were not entirely Eastern. Venice retained 


het semi - Western position. The next reign, that of 
Jacopo Tiepolo, is hardly conceraed with Eastern 
affairs at all 

Pietro Ziani abdicated, and was succeeded by Jaeopo 

Tiepolo. At his election the forty votes had been equally 

divided between Tiepolo and Marino Dandolo, 

thereby indicating a flaw in the constitution. The 

issue was reached by lot. 

Three points of special aigniiicance distinguish the reign 
of Tiepolo — a further curtailment of the ducal authority ; 
the action of Venice in connection with the Lombard 
League ; and the codification of the Venetian laws ; all 
three of them possessing important bearings on the develop- 
ment of Venetian history. 

We have seen that one of the problems in the constitu- 
tional history of the Eepublic, one of the main objects of 
the growing aristocracy — which had now received a great 
accession of wealth and influence from the spoils of the 
fourth Crusade, and, as a consequence, had begun to 
emerge in prominence above the level of the whole com- 
munity — was the reduction of the Dukedom to a merely 
ornamental position in the State. A principal means by 
which this end could be attained was the gradual exten- 
sion of the restrictive clauses in the Fromissione, or 
coronation oath, which each Doge at his accession was 
called upon to swear. The Profnismms was prepared by 
three officials during the interval between the death of one 
Doge and the election of another, and the new Doge had 
no voice in the construction of its terms, which he was 
bound to accept. Moreover, other constitutional machinery 
was devised to assist the aristocracy in reducing the power 
of the Doge. Tiepolo's reign saw the addition of two 
important magistracies to the public offices of the State — 
the Correttori della Promissumc d-ucale and the Inquisitoi-i 
aopra U Doge defunto. The Correttori were five nobles 
appointed to discuss, to amend, and to add to the Promis- 
atone ducale; the alterations were made "on the report of 
the Inqmsitori, whose duty it was to examine the life and 
actions of the deceased Doge, and to note carefully any 


signs of independent or autocratic conduct, so that such 
might be rendered impossible for the future. 

The Promissione of Jacopo Tiepolo not only 
served £is a basis for all future coronation oaths, but it con- 
tained the most important modifications of the ducal authority 
that we have met with as yet Apart from the ordinary 
clauses as to the administration of justice and the observation 
of the laws, the Doge swore to renounce any claim whatsoever 
upon the revenues of the Eepublic beyond his own salary 
and his share in the apples from Lombardy, and the crayfish 
and cherries from Treviso. He was bound to contribute 
his quota to public loans ; he was forbidden to correspond 
with the Pope or the Emperor or any other prince, unless he 
had obtained the consent of his councillors ; nor might he 
open letters from foreign powers except in the presence of 
his Council. His income from the fisc was established at 
2800 lire a year, payable every three months, and this sum 
was considerably augmented by his share in the tribute 
offered by Veglia, Cherso, and other Istrian or Dalmatian 
townships. His household was to consist of twenty servants, 
including the cooks. 

The imperative tone of these various clauses shows that 
the Venetian aristocracy fully understood the value of the 
Proinissione as an instrument for curbing their Doge ; they 
continued to make an ever- extending use of that engine 
until they succeeded in achieving the object which they 
had in view. 

Though ruin was threatening the Latin Empire in the 
East, the affairs of Constantinople, as we have already 
remarked, did not greatly occupy the attention of the 
Venetians during the reign of Jacopo Tiepolo. The move- 
ment of events on the Italian mainland plays a larger part 
in Venetian history. The Emperor Frederick XL was still 
pursuing the Imperial policy of attempting to destroy the 
independence, and to break the spirit, of the Lombard cities 
which had so successfully withstood his father Barbarossa. 
Internal jealousy and family feuds, the private ambition of 
the great houses in each mainland city, made it dangerous 
for the burghers to entrust the defence of their commune to 

lay one of their own citizens ; and hence arose the custom 
of calling to the direction of municipal affairs, as 
Podesti, a citizen of some neighhouring town, a man 
who had no personal stake in the township he was invited to 
govern. The prestige wliich Venice had acquired from the 
fourth Crusade, and the fact that her interests were, as yet, 
so little involved on the Italian mainland, led to tlie result 
that her citizens weie in great request as Podestis. We 
find a Tiepolo at Treviso, and later at Milan, a Badoer at 
I Padua, a Morosini at Faenza. This fact eventually pro- 
fdoced an open rupture between the Republic and the 
P" Emperor. Venice was not professedly a member of the 
existing Lombard League, hut the progress of Frederick 
and his lieutenant, Eccelino da Romano, caused her sym- 
pathies to be strongly engaged on the side of the Lom- 
bard cities. She acted as banker for a part of the funds 
lof the League, and her citizens, as Podestis, defended 
■ with valour Treviso and Padua against the Imperial arms ; 
Pietro Tiepolo, the Doge's son, was taken prisoner along 
rith many soldiers of the League at the disastrous battle of 
^rtenuovo. Eccelino, in the interests of the Emperor, was 
determined to read the Republic a lesson. He pushed his 
)op8 to the border of the lagoons at Mestre ; he took the 
nnvent of Sant' Ilario, near Fusina, and slew Giovanni 
Tiepolo, a member of the Doge's family. Venice found 
herself forced into open war with the Emperor, but this she 
was unable to undertake single-handed. The successes of the 
Imperial party, however, supplied her with an ally. The 
Pope, Gregory IX., could not fail to be alarmed at the 
threatened destruction of the Lombard cities. He formed an 
L.alliance between himself, the Genoese, the Pisaus, and Venice. 
E'A diversion was to be created by a naval demonstration 
Itkgainst the Imperial dominions in Sicily. In return for their 
ssistance Venice was promised the city of Pari, and the right 
> establish consulates in Sicily, in Apulia, and in Calabria. 
Among the other operations of this war the I'ope was 
endeavouring to recover Ferrara, which was then 
held by Salinguerra for the Emperor, Venetian 
mercial interests in Ferrara were great; and the Republic, 


being now in open hostility with the Emperor, desired nothing 
better than to see Ferrara in the hands of her ally 
the Pope. She accordingly consented to join in 
the siege of the city, which she was mainly instrumental in 
recovering. Sab'nguerra was conveyed to Venice, where he 
presently died, and was buried at S. Nicolo del Lido. Venice 
recovered all her ancient privileges in the mainland city, 
privileges and interests which were destined eventually to 
entangle her in the complications of mainland politics, and 
to induce her to take that first step towards a land empire 
which proved so disastrous to her career. 

But the real glory of Tiepolo's reign, and a striking 
proof of the rapid strides which Venice was making towards 
her completion as a full-grown State, is the great digest 
of Venetian law compiled by the Doge's order. This was 
not the earliest digest of the Venetian code; we have 
traces of a similar compilation published in 1195 by Enrico 
Dandolo ; but the Tiepoline Statuto is by far the most com- 
plete, reasoned, and extensive which had existed hitherta 
Tiepolo appointed a commission of four, to whom the digest 
was entrusted. Their names were Pantaleone Giustinian, 
Tomaso Centranico, Giovanni Michiel, and Stefano Badoer. 
The work of these men begins with two prefaces, in which 
are laid down the principles of law : the written law holds 
the first place ; where that fails, cases are to be judged by 
parallel cases, by equity, and common sense. After the 
prefaces come the statutes, divided into five books. 

The first book deals with ecclesiastical questions, church 
property, and monasteries. This is followed by an excuisos 
on procedure, the method of pursuit and defence, the nature 
of evidence, the sentence and its execution ; the book closes 
with the laws relating to dowries and jointures. The second 
book deals with wards and minors; the third with con- 
tracts; the fourth with wills, probate, and succession — in 
the case of intestacy, succession was in favour of the male ; 
the fifth and last book treats of succession outside Venice. 

The criminal law was codified in the work known as 
the Promissione del Maleficio, It is interesting to note that 
the first law is one in defence of shipwrecked mariners' 


faroperty ; chapter xxix., tlie last of the code, provirlea tliat 
all crimes not already contemplated shall be tried 
and sentenced at the discretion of the judges. 
Even more interesting than the civil and criminal codes 
aie the voluminous regulations for the mercantile marine, 
Ihey display a singularly advanced conception of the 
importance of the merchant service, and the need to pro- 
tect and encourage it by legislation. Besides regulations 
for the proper construction of ships, for the quantity and 
the proper lading of the cargo in the hold and on deck, 
for the due equipment of anchors, cables, etc., the statutes 
provided that every ship of 200,000 pounds burthen should 
crew of twenty men, and the crew was to be 
by one for every additional 10,000 pounds 
speicity. Every ship of 200,000 pounds burthen and 
Upwards was obliged to carry two supercai^es. In case 
' shipwreck the crew was bound to remain on the spot for 
fifteen days to effect the salvage, for which the men were 
recompensed at the rate of three per cent. Every ship 
poaseased Its own music, two trumpets, and the bigger onea 
a drum and two kettle-drums as well. The crew took 
their own mattresses and chest for their kit, a keg of wine, 
and a small cask of water. Officers were appointed to 
measure the capacity of each ship, and to see that the 
Lvessel did not leave port over-laden, thus anticipating by 
iny centuries Mr. Plimsoll's beneficent legislation. 
Jacopo Tiepolo's long reign of twenty years was fruitful 
of much that proved of prime importance in the internal 
development of Venice. The Eepubhc made great strides 
towards that completeness which was to be achieved by the 
^ close of the century. Tiepolo abdicated, and waa 

H succeeded by Marin Morosini. In Moroaini's elec- 

^hiOQ we find the method of choosing a Doge gradually 
^■taking shape and acquiring that form which it finally 
Hsssumed. The case of Tiepolo's election had shown that the 
llforty electors might be equally divided ; to avoid that 
difficulty their number was now raised to forty-one. A 
further innovation was made by the opportunity ofTered to 
Lny one who chose for attacking the character or conduct of 



each candidate as his name was taken out of the urn, and 
the permission granted to his friends and relations 
to reply in his defence. 

Morosini's brief reign of three years was marked by one 
event of importance, the introduction of the Inquisition into 
Venice. It is necessary to dwell at some length upon this 
point for two reasons : first, the action of Venice in the 
matter allows us to see clearly the independent attitude 
which the Eepublic adopted towards the Church of Home 
from the very first ; and, in the second place, the terms now 
concluded between the Church and the Eepublic, and the 
form now given to the Inquisition, have important bearings 
upon the issue of many subsequent difficulties and quarrels 
with Eome. 

It was the epoch of the Albigensian and Paterinian 
heresies. Everywhere the Pope was endeavouring to estab- 
lish " the dogs of God," the Dominican Inquisition, for the 
extirpation of the new creeds. Venice had hitherto resisted 
the papal claims; but now the Doge Morosini found it 
expedient to admit the Inquisition in a modified form. The 
Government undertook the search for heretics, whom they 
handed over to the Church for examination and declaration 
of fact only ; the Church was restricted to the simple state- 
ment whether such and such a prisoner was or was not a 
heretic. The secular power reserved to itself the right of 
punishment, which consisted in one form only, death by fire. 
This concession did not satisfy the Court of Some, which 
desired the establishment of the full Inquisition. The 
question remained open till 1289, when, on the 4th 
August, the Holy Ofl&ce, though still in a modified form, 
was finally admitted into the machinery of the Venetian 
State. The Inquisitor was named by the Pope, but he 
required the exequatur of the Doge before he could act A 
board of three Venetian nobles, called the Savii alV Jieresia, 
was appointed to sit as assessors to the Holy Office. Their 
duty was to protect the rights of Venetian citizens against 
any ecclesiastical usurpations, and without their presence 
and assent no act of the sacred tribunal was valid in 
Venice. This constitution of the Holy Office continued 


B'.dowD to the year 1551, when the friction between the 

Republic and the Curia reached a burning point. 

Doge Morosini died in 1253, and the election of 

\ his successor, Eenier Zeno, gave an opportunity to the growing 

aristocracy to pursue another branch of its political 

programme. This time it was not the ducal preroga- 

' tives which were curtailed, it was the popular rights which 

siifiered diminution from the progress of the oligarchical 

principle. It was now provided that, before the publica- 

■ tion of the new Doge's name by the forty-one electors, the 

■ whole population should swear to accept the man whom tha 
Helectors announced to have been chosen in conformity with 
H'fihe existing regulations. The people consented. They 
Hjieem to have been unaware that they were abdicating their 
W constitutional liberties, were being slowly but surely extruded 

from all share in the government, which was deliberately being 
concentrated in the bands of the nascent aristocracy ; they 
did not perceive in this new provision a preparation for the 

I final act of disfranchisement. 
When Kenier Zeno came to the throne the North of 
(Italy was in a state of confusion and of terrible suffering, 
i'rederick II. had closed in gloom, at Fiorentino, the last 
days of his brilliant career. But his lieutenant, Eccelino, 
(till survived to ravage, burn, and torture; to accumu- 
late round his person those terrible legends which still 
render his name a terror to the superstitious contadlni of 
the Bassanese. The Pope, moved by the dreadful sufferings 
of the North Italian provinces, launched a crusade against 
the Gbibelline leader. Two Venetians, Marco Querini and 
Marco Badoer, took a prominent part in the struggle which 
ended in the defeat of the tyrant at the bridge of Cassano, 
and his death, from his wounds, at Vimercate in 1259, 
In the midst of all this turmoil, though her individual 
citizens were taking an active part in it, Venice herself 
remained undisturbed in her lagoons. But not for long. 
A double source of troiible was preparing in the Levant. 
^Venice was about to be brought into violent collision 
jrith her formidable rival Genoa; and the final collapse 
the Latin Empire was destined to raise once more 


the question of the Venetian people's attitude towards 

It was inevitable that the Genoese and the 
Venetians, both occupying neighbouring quarters in the 
Levantine cities, each there in order to obtain a monopoly 
of Eastern commerce, should come to open quarrels, especi- 
ally when the local authority was as weak as it had become 
under the rulers of the Latin Empira 

The scene of the struggle was the Levant. At Acre the 
Venetians and Genoese came to blows over the possession 
of the church and quarter of S. Saba. This was but the 
pretext for the opening of a long and deadly struggle for 
commercial supremacy, a struggle whose various phases we 
shall have to follow from time to time, till it reaches ita 
climax in the war of Chioggia in 1380. 

In the question of S. Saba the Venetians conceived that 
they had been insulted. Their Bailo reported to the Doge, 
who sent an embassy to Genoa to demand satisfaction. 
This was refused. Venice prepared for war. Lorenzo 
Tiepolo sailed for Acre, and arrived just in time to save the 
Bailo Giustinian from being driven out of the city. Tiepolo 
forced his way into the port, breaking the chain which 
protected its entrance. He burned the Genoese shipping, 
landed his men, and sacked the Genoese quarter. This was 
enough for the Genoese, who demanded a truce for two 
months. Tiepolo returned to Venice in triumph, and is said 
to have brought with him, as trophies of his victory, the 
drum of a porphyry column, which now stands at the south- 
west comer of S. Mark's, and the two square pillars near 
the Porta della Carta of the ducal palace. 

But such a truce could only be temporary. It was 
inevitable that Genoa would endeavour to wipe out the 
stain, and to recover her position in Acre. Very soon news 
reached Venice that a large fleet, under the command of 
Kosso dalla Turca, had sailed from Genoa for the Levant 
Instantly thirty ships were despatched from Venice to join 
the fleet under Tiepolo. This reinforcement brought the 
Venetian squadron up to thirty -nine ships of war. An en- 
gagement was imminent. It was forced on by the Genoese 


I commaniJer. On the 24th August 1268 the hostile fleets 

were in sight of each other. Both leaders knew 

the importance of the coming struggle. Tiepolo 

[ addressed his captains, recommending strict discipline and 

[ coolness in the conflict ; he reminded them tliat the fortunes 

[ of Venice were in their hands. He was answered by a 

I shout of " Long live S. Mark, patron of the Venetian 

1 dominions." The battle proved long and bloody, but declared 

[ for the Venetians. Twenty-five Genoese galleys were taken, 

and the Genoese quarter in Acre was sacked and utterly 

destroyed. Tbe Pope, however, Alexander IV., viewed with 

I disfavour this internecine war. He made use of all his 

authority to compel the Genoese, tbe Pisana, and the 

Venetians to come to Ms presence. Terms of a truce were 

drawn up and accepted. But its duration was brief. 

Another event of the highest importance called for 
Venetian attention in the East, and brought them once 
into collision with Genoa, Baldwin, the Latin 
I Emperor, was desperately endeavouring to maintain himself 
upon the throne of Constantine. His funds were failing 
^.jiim. He had sold his paternal fief of Courtnay ; he had 
nwned the crown of thorns — it had heen used once before 
a security for a loan of 7000 ducats borrowed from the 
tforosini family ; he had given his own son as a guarantee 
Pfor money raised from the Capello of Venice, An able and 
mscmpulous man, Michel Paleologus, conceived the idea of 
I restoring the Greek Empire in Constantinople. He was 
guardian to the young Greek Emperor, John, the nephew 
of the Emperor Vatace. Popular favour soon raised 
Michel to share the throne of his ward, and the Greeks 
fciesolved to recapture the Imperial city. Instantly Venice 
■ was brought face to face with the diiEcnlty which ebe herself 
Tliad been so largely instrumental in raising by her action in 
die fourth Crusade. Her commercial interests rendered it 
impossible for her to be indifferent to this Eastern question 
which she had created ; to her it was of vital importance 
that she should be on good terms with the ruler of Constan- 
tinople. But now Michel Paleologus, a Greek, imbued with 
all the Greek hatred for the Latins, and above all for the 


I loes wi 


Venetiaua, waa threatening to expel the eafeebled Baldw 
and to become master of the capital. The Venetians 
hardly dared to abandon Baldwin, and jet they knew 
quite well that Europe would leave them to support, hiia 
single -handed, as being the European power most vitally 
interested in his preservation. The Republic supplied ships 
and money to the Emperor, but not in sufficienl quantitiea 
It soon became obvious that nothing could save the Latin 
throne. In the beginning of the year 1261, while 
the Venetian fleet was absent on an expedition against 
Daphnuaia, a city on the Black Sea, Michel's general, Strate- 
gopoulos, under cover of night approached the city. The 
Golden Gate was seized, the guards slain, and to the cry of 
" Long live the Emperors John and Michel," the Greek troops 
poured into the town. The Latin quarters were destroyed ; 
the Euiperor, Baldwin, the Venetian Bailo, and the Venetian 
Patriarch barely escaped with their lives on board a boal 
which took them out to sea. The fleet of Venice, meanwliile, 
was returning from its ineffectual attempt on Daphnusia ; us 
the Venetians entered the Eosphorua they saw the flames of 
the ruined city staining the air. On approaching they 
found the shores thronged with their fellow-countrymen, 
who implored them for the shelter of the fleet. As many 
as could be safely received, were taken on l>oard, and the 
galleys sailed for Venice, leaving Michel Paleologus com- 
plete master of Constantinople, and the Latin Empire 
destroyed for ever. 

The Genoese had not failed to make use of this check 
to Venetian commerce in the Levant. Even before the fall 
of Constantinople they had come to terms with Paleologus, 
to whom, as the foe of Venice, they were favourably incIinsA 
When Paleologus became master of Constantinople, thougli 
he did not weigh very heavily on the Venetians who chose 
to remain behind, yet he naturally encouraged and supported 
liis allies the Genoese. He gave them the palace of tbe 
Venetian Bailo, and generally placed them in a commanding 
position in face of their rivals. 

The blow to their commerce and the success of tbeir 
foes waa a bitter morsel to the Venetians. They resolved, 


if possible, to retrieve tbeir position. They appealed to 
Europe for help, urging that the recovery of Con- 
atantinople and the restoration of the Latin Empire 
was a sacred obUgation upon thoae who had created it ; 
■Uiat was their pretext, but their real reasou was the desire 
to expel the Genoese by the help of European arms. 
£urope understood the situation and refused assistance. 

Venice was thus left alone to continue her struggle for 
supremacy in the Levant single-handed against the Genoese 
supported by the Greeks. Europe looked on indifferent; 
Paleologus leaned towards Genoa, but in reality he was 
merely waiting to see what turn events would take. Though 
the two years' campaign, 1262 to 1264, did not decide the 
ieane of the atn^le between the rival republics, yet it 
Iflight have at any moment. Both Genoa and Venice 
proved that they were aware of the situation by the great 
efforts they made to place large arniaraenta on the sea, 
Martino da Canal, a contemporary, has left ua a picturesque 
ftccouut of one of the many engagements which took place 
off the coast of Nauplia. " Messer Giberto Dandolo," he 
■ays, " set sail from Venice with the fleet I have described, 
and urged his course with sail and oar, till he reached 
Jtomauia, where he went searching for the Genoese, here 
And there. He put into an island called the Seven Wells to 
uk for news of them. While lying in this port, a pinnace 
liove in sight ; he thought it was a friendly boat from Venice 
or from the Prince of the Morea, or from Messer Lorenzo 
Tiepolo. But suddenly the pinnace put about and fled, 
:Biid when Messer Giberto saw that he sent out two galleys 
to spy what was going on at sea. They followed the 
pinnace till suddenly they came in sight of thirty-nine 
Genoese galleys and ten pinnaces, towards the island of 
Porcaria ; and you must know that they had had news of 
ir Giberto, but he had had no news of them. The 
enetian galleys signalled to their commander; and when 

saw the signal Messer Gibeito, the noble captain of 
'Venice, made no long delay. He sailed out with but 
ithirty-oue galleys, nor when he saw the might of the 
'Oenoeae ships did he quail at all ; but like a lion, proud 


and secure, he cleared his decks for actiou, and gave ord 
that no captain was to bear down upon the enemy 
before himself. The Genoese came on in close order ; 
each squadron of ten ships Iiad its admiral. All, sirs, had 
ye been there, ye would have seen the Venetians on flame, 
full of great prowess and daring. When Messer Giberto 
saw the moment come be cried, ' Now God be with ns, and 
S. Mark of Venice. Up with the anchors and at tbem.' 
He chained down on the Genoese and his fleet followed 
him. Many Venetians leaped on board the Genoese admiral 
and cut down his flag-staff. One Genoese admiral was 
slain, and one fled in a boat, after the Venetians had 
boarded and taken his ship and cut down hia flag-staff. 
Both flag-staffs you must know were iirmly chained to their 
ships. When the other Genoese admirals saw the standards 
fall they fled. And so the Venetians right well avenged 
the ruin of their men in Constantinople." A series of sucli 
engagements, with varying fortune, led up to a great 
battle at Trapani, off the coast of Sicily, in which 
Venice was victorious. The engagement decided the issue of 
tills campaign, 

The result of the victory was seen at once in Con- 
stantinople. Paleologus liad been slowly discovering that 
the Genoese whom he protected in the Imperial city were 
troublesome inhabitants. Their insolence led to their being 
removed from Stamboul, the city, to Galala, the suburb, 
When tlie news of the battle of Trapani reached the 
Emperor he resolved to abandon the Genoese, and to 
endeavour to enter into treaty with Venice, But at Venice 
the question did not present itself quite simply. Genon, 
for the moment, was no longer formidable. It seemed to 
one party of Venetian statesmen that the proper course for 
the Republic was a return to its old policy, initiated after 
the fourth Crusade, of endeavouring to recover Constanti- 
nople and to restore the Latin Empire ; they ui^ed that 
Venetian honour required this step. On the other hand, 
the opposite party pertinently asked who was to hold 
Constantinople when it was taken ; Venice could not single- 
handed, and Europe would not help her. 


The debate resulted in the despatch of ambassadors to 
Constantinople, who, after lengthy negotiatioDS, con- 
cluded a truce for five years between the EepubUc 
and the Emperor. By the terms of this treaty Venice 
virtually reacquired her old position in the Imperial city, 
and became once more the chief commercial power in the 
Greek Empire. 

This episode brought to a close the long and brilliant 
reign of Eenier Zeno. The prosperity of Venice was re- 
flected in the amplification of her buildings : the Piazza was 
surrounded by the I'rocuratie ; the facade of the Basilica bad 
already been adorned with mosaics, relatijig the story oE the 
translation of S. Mark's body from Alexandria to Venice; the 
great church of the Frari was begun. Not only the buildings 
.but also the ceremonies of the Republic bore witness to her 
'growing magnificence. The processions of the Doge more 
or less resembled one another. The following description 
taken from the chronicle of that picturesque eye-witness, 
Martino da Canal, will serve as a specimen : — 

" So long have I lived," he aaya, " in beautiful Venice, 
that I have seen the processions which Monsignor the 
Doge makes upon high festivals, and which he would 
not, for all the world, omit to make each year. On 
Easter Day, then, the Doge descends from his palace ; before 
him go eight men bearing eight silken banners blazoned with 
the image of S. Mark, and on each staff are the eagles of 
the Empire. After the standards come two lads who carry, 
one the faldstool the other the cushion of the Doge ; then 

trumpeters who blow through silver trumpets, followed 
ty two with cymbals, also of silver. Comes next a clerk 
who holds a great cross all beautiful with gold, silver, and 
precious stones ; a second clerk carries the Gospels, and a 
third a silver ceiiser, and all three are dressed in damask of 
Then follow the twenty-two canons of S. Mark in 
robes, chaunting. Behind the canons walks Monsignor 

Doge, under the umbrella which Monsignor the Apostle 

gave him ; the umbrella is of cloth of gold, and a 

it in his hands. By the Doge's side is the 

iciero of S. Mark's who wears a bishop's mitie ; on his 




other side, the priest who shall chaunt the mass. Monsignor 
the Doge wears a crown of gold and precious stones, 
and is draped in cloth of gold. Hard by the Doge 
walks a gentleman who bears a sword of exquisite workman- 
ship ; then follow the gentlemen of Venice. In such order 
Monsignor the Doge comes into the Piazza of S. Mark, which 
is a stone's-throw long ; he walks as far as the church of 
San Gimignano, and returns thence in the same order. The 
Doge bears a white wax candle in his hands. They halt in 
the middle of the Piazza, and three of the ducal chaplains 
advance before the Doge and chaunt to him the beautiful 
versicles and responses. Then all enter the church of S. 
Mark ; three chaplains move forward to the altar rails, and 
say in loud voice, * Let Christ be victorious, let Christ rule, 
let Christ reign ; to our Lord Eenier Zeno, by the grace of 
God illustrious Doge of Venice, Dalmatia, and Croatia, con- 
queror of a fourth part and of half a fourth part of all the 
Koman Empire, salvation, honour, life and victory, let Christ 
be victorious, let Christ rule, let Christ reign/ Then the 
three chaplains say, ' Holy Mary,' and all respond, ' Help 
thou him.' The Primiciero removes his mitre and begins the 
mass. Then the Doge shows himself to the people fix)m the 
loggia and afterwards enters his palace, where he finds the 
table spread ; he dines there, and with him all the chaplains 
of S. Mark." 

The Doge Zeno died on Vth July 1268, and was buried 
with great splendour in the church of SS. Giovanni and 
Paolo, where a part of his tomb is still preserved. 


Beform in metliod iF electing tlie Doge — SiiK of wealthy families, result of 
Levant trade— Method of election — Lorenzo Tiepolo, Doge — Famine — 
Venice cannot feed heraelf-Jealousy of her neighbours — Venice rlnims 
to tax mainknd goods in her port— War with Hologna — Lewis IX. ; hia 
Crusade ; his contract with Venice — Size, crew, and cost of Venetian 
ships — Jacopo Contarini, doge — Reduction of the ducal authority — 
Jail-delir»ry— Voni'tian claim to be mistresa of the Adriatic— War with 
Aucona — Venice worsted — Oiovanni Daudoto, Doge — Further proposals 
to restore the Latin Empire — Sicilian Vespers— In terdict'-Period of 
tntaToTtunes for Venice— Death and funeral of Doge— The jieople claim 
to have a Toice in election of bis successor — The new aristocracy : its 
views — PUtro Oritdntiga, Doge ; his character- Genoa and Venice— 
AffaiH of the Latin Empire— Fall of Tripalj, atid of Ftolemais— Venice 
mikea terms with tbo Mnssulman power — Genoa tries to exclude Venice 
from the Black Sea- Preparations for war— Battle of Ajas— Defeat of 
Venice — Result in Cooatantinople— Vanetiana in the city attacked and 
))i11aged— Great preparations in Venice — Andres Dandolo in command — 
Battle of Curzolo — Defeat of Venice — JIatteo Viaconti mediates — Con- 
Ktitutional reforms — Creation of the oligarchy — ^Closing of the Great 

Is the preceding chapter we have seen Venetian history 
following two main lines. First, the development of 
the State internally by the codification of its laws, 
the amplification of the city, the initiation of that taste for 
eumptuous display which remained so marked a characteristic 
of the Hepublic ; above all, by a steady pursuit of its constitu- 
tional evolution through the curtailment of ducal autliority 
Bud the abridgment of popular rights, Secondly, Venice was 
occupied with the solution of the Eastern problem created by 
the fourth Cnisade, which involved her in a struggle with 
Genoa. This chapter will show how the Kepublic brought to 
close the (Question of her strictly constitutional growth, and 


became stereotyped as that rigid oligarchy which remained 
the admiration and the despair of less fortunate 
Italian states. The solution of the second problem, 
the Eastern question, and the commercial position of the 
Republic, is not reached till more than a century later. 

The first of the changes in the constitution which char- 
acterise this period, was that by which the method of election 
to the Dukedom received its final form. The various modi- 
fications in that method have been noted from time to time. 
But now, upon the death of the Doge Zeno, the question was 
taken into consideration once more. The reason which led 
tlie Venetians to adopt this reform seems to have been this. 
The great influx of wealth, produced by the opening up of 
Levantine commerce, had caused certain families to emerge 
above the level of their compeers. This gave rise to 
jealousies and rivalries between these distinguished houses; 
and the partisanship of the citizens for a Tiepolo or a 
Dandolo became so keen that in order to avoid civic brawl- 
ing the Great Council passed a law forbidding any Venetian, 
parvus vcl magnvs, to display upon his house or person, 
tlie arms or badge of a Venetian family, and those which then 
existed were to be erased within fifteen days. There was 
imminent danger that this spirit of rivalry would spread to 
the candidature for the Dukedom, and breed corruption. 
Accordingly, on the death of Zeno, that extraordinarily 
complicated system of election was introduced which 
subsisted down to the fall of the Eepublic. 

This system will be most easily grasped in a tabulated 
form, thus : — 

The Great Council by lot choose 30 
Tlie 30 reduced by lot to . 9 

The 9 vote for 

The 40 reduced by lot to 

The 12 vote for . 

The 26 reduced by lot to 

The 9 vote for 

The 45 reduced by lot to 

j with at least 
) 7 votes each. 

f with at least 
*^ ( 9 votes each. 

.f.{ with at least 
*^ ( 7 votes each. 


Tlie 1 1 vote for 
The 41 elect, by i 
The Xiogn. 

I t with at letwt 
) 9 votes each, 
of twenty. five votes, 

When the day for the election of a Doge arrived, it was 
tlie duty of the youngest councillor to enter S. Mark's 
and there to pray fervently ; on rising from his knees, 
he was bound to take the first lad he met, and to conduct 
him into the ducal palace. The lad was called the hallotitw, 
or ballot-boy, and it was his function to take round the ballot- 
box, and to draw out the alips of paper from the urn wheu 
an election by lot, or by ballot, was in progress. The fiual 
st^e in the election of a Doge was as follows. When the 
forty-one electors had been chosen, they went in a body to 
hear nia.^ ; they then took an oatli that they would act to 
the best of their ability. A president and two secretaries were 
apiKiinted, and then each elector, as bis name was called out, 
approached the urn and placed in it a slip of paper with the 
name of the man he wished to create Doge. The secretaries 
opened the slips, and drew up a list of all the names which 
appeared on them ; the slips were replaced in another urn, 
and one was drawn ; if the man whose name appeared upon it 
was present he was bound to retire, and the electors proceeded 
to discuss his merits anil demerits ; he was allowed to reply, 
and then he was balloted for. If he obtained twenty-five 
ballots in his favour he was declared Doge ; if not, a second 
name was drawn from the urn and the process was resumed. 

When the new Doge had been finally elected he was 
solemnly conducted into the ducal palace, and thence into S. 
Mark's, where he mounted the large porphyry pulpit and 
was shown to the people. He then heard mass and swore 
his coronation oath, after which he received the standard of 
S. Mark and the ducal mantle from the Primiciero. He 
was then carried round the Piazza in a chair called the 
I'oizt.tto, or little well; and finally, on his return to the 
palace, at the head of the Giant's Stairs the senior coim- 
cillor placed the ducal bonnet, or corno, on his head, and the 
ceremony of his election was complete. The evening 
closed with a banquet to the foity-one electors, 


The first Doge cliosen by this elaborate process was 
Lorenzo Tiepolo, son of the Doge Jacopo. The begin- 
ning of Tiepolo's reign was disturbed by a serious 
famine, which brought to light two noteworthy points in the 
position of Venice : first, her inability to feed herself, her 
dependence upon the importation of grain ; and secondly, the 
deadly jealousy of her neighbours on the Italian mainland ; 
both of them points to be borne in mind when we come to 
discuss the wisdom or the necessity of that policy which led 
Venice to create a dominion on the continent The Eepublic 
in her straits appealed to the cities of the Padovano and of 
the Trevisan marches for corn. She reminded them of the 
assistance they had received from her during the bloody 
times of Eccelino. But past favours could not annihilate 
living jealousy. Venice met with a general refusal to her 
request for grain. Her reprisals were prompt and showed 
that she was conscious where her power lay; she imposed 
heavy dues on all goods consigned to mainland merchants, 
which arrived in the port of Venice. She endeavoured to 
renew an ancient provision that all ships carrying such 
goods should unlade at Venice only, and she appointed 
officers at the ports along the Adriatic to carry out that 
order. Such claims were excessive and beyond the power 
of Venice, at that time, to enforce. She became embroiled 
in a war with Boloma, in which she was worsted. 
Peace was concluded. Venice was forced to admit 
the right of the Bolognese to import corn through Ancona 
and the cities of the Eomagna, though she succeeded in im- 
posing a limit upon the amount which might pass through 
those ports each year, and established superintendents there 
to see that the amount was not exceeded. 

At this time Lewis IX. of France was preparing for his 
disastrous Crusade. In the year 1268 he opened 
negotiations with Venice for the conveyance of his 
army to Africa. Though the bargain was never concluded, 
the Eepublic tabulated a contract which is valuable as 
showing us the transport power of the Venetian fleet, and 
the price which they asked for their services. 

The crews of the Venetian warships at this period were 

free citizens ; Venice did not use condemned criminals till 
mucli later. Two reasons may account for tliis fact. 
First.thecity was not large, nor was it as yet corrupted 
l)y wealth and by idle classes ; it therefore could not furnish 
many galley slaves to serve at the oar. But secondly, even 
had there been a sufficient number of criminals to man the 
fleet, it is doubtful whether the Venetians would have 
employed them at that time. As long as the tactics of naval 
warfare included boarding operations as a moat important 
feature, it is obvious that condemned criminals could not be 
employed, for it would be dangerous to entrust them with 
arms. Later on, when, to some extent, ramming took the 
place of boarding, the galley slave, chained to his bench, 
which he was not required to leave, could be employed 
precisely as we employ machinery. 

When crews were required for a naval expedition 
orders were given to the head of each district to enrol all 
males between twenty and sixty years of age, in groups of 
twelve each. One man was chosen by lot out of each group 
of twelve, and was obliged to serve in the first draft ; if 
more men were called for a fresh lot was cast, and so on. 
The man on seri-ice received five lire a month from the 
State, and one lira a mouth from each of the remaining 
members of his group of twelve who did not go on service. 
This pay amounted to about two fi-ancs a day of our euiTent 
money ; besides this he was supplied with food. Exemp- 
tions were permitted on payment of six lire a month in 
addition to tlie quota which fell to each man's share as 
member of a group of twelve. 

On this occasion the fleet contracted for was to 
; consist of — 

1. "Die tiaiUa Mnria, 108 fc^t long and 38 feet wide, deck 
mewnreiuent ; and 70 fei;t long and 9^ leet wide, keel nieasurenient ; 
doptli of hold 15i feet. The hire of the ship with ita crew of 110 
men nnd all her fittinga complete waa to coat 1400 ellrer marks, or 
70,000 francs. 

S. The BoceafoTte, 110 feet long and 40 feet wide, deck meaanre- 
inent; and 70 feet long and 9 J feet wide, keel meaaurement i depth 
of hold SEl feet. The hire of the ship with its crew of 110 men and 
all fittinga complete waB to cost 1400 silver marks, or 70,000 francs. 



3. The San Nicoloy 100 feet long and 26 feet wide, deck measure- 
ment ; and 75 feet long and 9 feet wide, keel measurement; 

depth of hold 23 feet. The hire of the ship with a crew 1268. 
of 86 was to cost 1100 marks, or 55,000 francs. 

4. Seven new ships, each of them 80 feet long and 38 feet wide, 
deck measurement ; and 58 feet long and 8 feet wide, keel measure- 
ment ; depth of hold 18^ feet The hire of each ship with its crew 
of 50 complete to-cost 700 marks or 35,000 francs ; a total of 245,000 

5. Five old ships, belonging to Venetian merchants, of the same 
build and price as the preceding seven, 175,000 francs. 

6. The King wished to know how much space each knight, with 
two servants, one horse, and one groom, would occupy. The agents of 
the Doge inquire how much bread, wine, meat, cheese and provender 
the King intends to allow for each knight and his equipage ; how long 
the passage will last, and what allowance of water each will have ; 
how much oats and hay he intends to put on board for each horse, 
and how much water the horse will consume per diem. 

7. The reply is that each man will require a quarter of com in 
bread and flour, a quart and a half of wine, and the same of water, 
and salt meat, cheese, oil and vegetables. 

8. Each horse will require 4 quarts of com ; a bundle of hay, 5 
feet by 9 ; and 15 quarts of water per diem. 

The contract was for a year. The troops to be con- 
veyed were 4000 horses and 10,000 men. Besides the 
ships above mentioned the Venetians would supply a trans- 
port, on board of which the following fares were to be 
charged : — 

For a knight, his two servants, his groom and his horse, Sj^ marks. 

For a knight alone for a place abaft the main-mast, 2\ marks. 

For a squire, a place on deck, 7 ounces of silver. 

For a groom and horse, 4 J marks. 

For any pilgrim, including food, J of a mark. 

The Doge engaged to supply firewood for cooking. The 
fleet was to be ready in June. 

Supposing Romanin to be correct in his estimate of the 
mark as worth 50 francs, we find that the Venetians asked 
24,600 pounds sterling for the use of fifteen ships and one 
transport for a year; and that these vessels between them 
carried an average of 252 horses and 625 men, besides the 
crews. When we consider the amount of provisions for 
men and horses which must have been required, it remains 



an insoluble problem how ships of the burthen described 

above, could have been equal to the task. Lewis, 

however, declined the terma demanded by Venice. 

It was a Genoese fleet which conveyed him and the chivalry 

of France to their death on the African coast. 

The Doge, Lorenzo Tiepolo, died in 1275, and 
was succeeded by Jacopo Contarini. The corona- 
tion oath of the new Doge proves once more how determined 
the aristocracy were to use this instrument for the reduction 
of the ducal power. Contarini was called upon to swear 
that neither he nor his sons nor his nephews would accept 
fiefs from foreign princes, nor raise loans for their private 
use, nor marry a foreigner, without the consent of the 
Council. He pledged himself to pay all hia debts within 
eight days. Every two months the memory of his duties 
was to be refreshed by reading his coronation oath. His 
sous were debarred from holding the post of governor, but 
they might command a ship, aud might serve as ambassadors. 
Tlie coronation oath, however, was not concerned entirely 
with the personal position of the Dogo and his family; it con- 
tained from time to time excellent provisions for the better 
government of the State. In the present instance we find 
perhaps the earliest instance of a jail-delivery rendered 
obligatory by law ; the Doge swore that he would " cause 
every prisoner who is detained in our prisons to be examined 
by our officers within a month of his arrest. We will, 
further, send our notary once a month to draw up a Hat of 
all prisoners, both in the upper and in the lower prisons. 
and will cause our judges to discharge their cases, absolWng 
or condemning according to the nature of the offence." 

It was inevitable that the growing importance of the 
Itepublic, her commanding position in the Adriatic, should 
rouse the jealousy of other seaboard towns. Already, at the 
Council of Lyons, the people of Ancoua had made complaints 
iflgainst the absolute authority which Venice claimed in the 
'Cult Venice defended her position on three grounds — 
usage, infeudation by Tope Alexander III., and services 
mdered in suppressing piracy and keeping the Saracens out 
those waters. The truth seems to be that Venice had 


no right de jure to supremacy over the Adriatic, but dt fado 
she was the greatest power in that sea ; and that posi- 
tion she endeavoured to maintain by force of arms. 
War broke out between Venice and Ancona; it proved 
disastrous to the Eepublic. Her first fleet was wrecked, 
and reinforcements, despatched before news of the mis- 
fortune could reach Venice, ran right into the arms of the 
enemy. The situation was still further complicated by the 
fact that the Emperor Kudolph had recently made a 
donation of the Romagna, including Ancona, to Pope Nicolas 
III., and the Republic thus became not merely ^ 
engaged in an unprosperous war with her rival 
but embroiled with the Pope as well. The difficulties 
which surrounded the Republic gave an opportunity to 
the townships of Istria and to the islanders of Crete to rise 
in revolt, and these accumulated misfortunes led to the 
enforced abdication of the Doge, grown now too old to 
govern the State with vigour. His successor, Giovanni 
Dandolo, brought the war with Ancona to a con- 
elusion ; but it is noticeable that in the treaty of 
peace not a word is said about the supremacy of the Gulf, 
which was thus left an open question to be the fruitful source 
of annoyance to the Republic. 

Western Europe, though it had shown itself indifferent 
as long as it saw Venice bearing all the burden of an 
attempt to recover Constantinople and to restore the Latin 
Empire, was not, when Venice ceased her efforts, content to 
leave tlie Greeks in undisputed possession of the Imperial 
city. Charles of Anjou and Philip of France continually 
urged the Republic to join them in an expedition against 
l^aleologus. Venice was willing, for she believed that the 
restitution of the Latin Empire through her means would 
secure for her a leading position in the Levant. Accoi'd- 
ingly, in 1281, the terms of a treaty were agreed upon. 
The Venetian fleet and the French army were to meet at 
Brindisi in 1283. But the whole design was frustrated by 
the explosion which followed the Sicilian Vespers. Charles 
of Anjou had lost his importance ; Venice had neither will 
nor power to attack Constantinople alone; and, in 1285, 


tahe signed a new truce with Andronieus I'aleologus, and 
forbade the clergy of Venice^ the Patriarch of Grade, 
and the Bishop of Caatello, to preach the Crusade 
against her new ally. This action brought down upon the 
Eepublic tlie wrath of the Church, and she was placed 
under an interdict. 

I The period was one of humiliation and of suffering for 

"yenice. Her small wars were unsuccessful ; the 
interdict weighed upon her conscience; an earth- 
quake and inundation ruined many buildings. So great was 
the distress that the Government found itself obhged to 
undertake the sale of grain at a loss, and to order a 

I forced subsidy to the monasteries, which at that time 
acted as relieving oflicera for the poor. 
But this period of depression was soon to be succeeded 
by one of extraordinary interest and activity. The reign of 
&e next Doge, I'ietro Gradenigo, will display to ua the 
Bepublic of Venice internally, arriving at the full maturity 
of her constitutional growth ; while, on the other hand, 
externally she suffered a disastrous and almost a fatal defeat 
at the hands of Genoa, her great rival in the Levant, 
i At the funeral ceremony of the Doge Dandolo the 

■ people endeavom'ed, almost for the last time, to make 
fttbeir voice heard in t!ie choice of his successor. The 
Hosme which found favour with the crowd was that of 
I Jacopo Tiepolo, son of the Doge Lorenzo, and grandson of 
B'tbe great Doge Jacopo, It is not improbable that this 

■ p reference was dictated by a desire to protest against the 
B^rowing power of the younger commercial aristocracy, repte- 
" sented by such families as those of Dandolo and Gradenigo 

— the aristocracy which was called into existence by the 
increase of commercial prosperity consequent upon the fall 
of Constantinople, the work, to a large extent, of Enrico Dan- 
dolo, a member of the rising faction. It was this aristocracy 
whose political views were becoming dominant in the State ; 
whose oligarchical bias was effectuating itself through the 
alow suppression of the Doge and the steady extrusion of the 
people from all share in the machinery of the Government. 
The people were becoming aware, though now too late, that 



they had allowed their rights to be stolen from them little by 
little; and so their cry was for a Tiepolo, a member of 
a family not only privately hostile to the Dandolos, but 
representing a different current in Venetian politics. They 
were not to have their way, however. There was an objection 
to Tiepolo which was too obvious for his enemies to miss ; he 
was the son and the grandson of a Doge ; to elect him would 
be a dangerous return to that dynastic tendency which it had 
been one of the chief endeavours of Venetian domestic policy 
to eradicate. Pressure was brought to bear upon Tiepolo. It 
was pointed out that if he persisted in his candidature lie 
risked plunging the State into civil war. Tiepolo was a good 
citizen ; he yielded, and retired to his country villa beyond 
Mestre. Pietro Gradenigo, a member of the new 
aristocracy, and married to Morosina Morosini, was 
elected. The people received the announcement in suUen 
silence. Their previous clamour and their present gloom 
presaged the storm which was to burst in the conspiracy of 
Bajamonte Tiepolo. 

Gradenigo at the time of his election was a young Tnftn^ 
only thirty-eight years old. He was already unpopular, as 
his nickname of Pierazzo shows. But he possessed great 
ability and experience, and w^ endowed with courage and 
an iron will. He had ample opportunity for the display of 
these qualities. The news of his election to the Dukedom 
reached him in Capo d'Istria, whence he was brought with 
an escort of ten galleys to Venice. 

Gradenigo found himself face to face with two great 
questions in Venetian history — ^her struggle with Genoa, 
and her constitutional development ; and these two lines we 
shall follow separately. 

After the defeat of Genoa at the battle of Trapani in 
1264, and the treaty with Michel Paleologus in 1268, 
renewed with his successor, Andronicus, in 1285, Venice 
had to a certain extent recovered her position in Constan- 
tinople, which had been so seriously shaken by the expul- 
sion of Baldwin and the fall of the Latin Empire. But 
the blow was too severe to be remedied with rapidity. 
Venice no longer enjoyed that preponderating influence, as 



Li^ainst the Genoese, wMch she once possessed and still 
desired. The unhappy Latin Empire, established by 
the Crusades after such toil and so much pains, 

' was now in its death agony. Constantinople had fallen ; 
but tlie remains of the Christian dominion still lingered in 
Tripoli and Palestine. No exhortation of Pope or Emperor 
or King, however, could raise Europe once again to arm in 
defence of the Cross. Venice, who had most at stake in 
the East, made some spasmodic efforts to save Tripoli, but 
the city fell to the Mussulmans m April 1280 ; and this 

I disaster was followed by the final blow to the Christiana 

' in the East when Ptolemais capitulated in 1291, 

Venice was not long in deciding on her course 

of action. She came to terras with the new power, though 

infidel. In 1299 the Eepublic signed a treaty 

with the Sultan Nasser Mohammed, by which she 

acquired extensive commercial privileges in Palestine, with 

liberty to visit the holy sepulchre under safe conduct, 

thereby combining business and religion in a way which 

I the Crusades had never achieved. The Venetians rapidly 

* b^an to develop their advantages, and we find them trading 
in " goods forbidden to the Christians " — that is to say, in 
slaves, in arms, and wood for shipbuilding, merchandise 
which the Pojies had strictly prohibited Christians from 
fornishing to p^ans. But the Genoese, who were strong 
in the Black Sea and the Bosphorus, did not intend to 
allow the Venetians an undisturbed enjoyment of their 
advantages. Tlie fall of the Christian dominion in the 
East really left the traffic of the Levant open to the 
strongest arm. Genoa and Venice were about to come iuto 
collision over the prize. The Genoese began by attempting 

I to exclude the Venetians from the Black Sea. The Republic 
considered this a casus belli. Great preparations for war 
were made in Venice. Not only were the citizens enrolled 
by the method of groups of twelve, but a committee was 
appointed to draw up a list of the more wealthy nobles, and 
to impose upon them the duty of arming one, two, or three 

ft galleys, in proportion to their wealth. 

The fleet sailed in October 1294, and came up with 


the Genoese at Ajas, in the Gulf of Iskenderun, the extreme 
corner of the Mediterranean towards Asia Minor. 
The Genoese commander won a decided victory by 
superior tactics. Seeing that he was defective in numbers, 
he adopted the device of binding all his vessels together 
and bridging with planks from one to another. The 
Venetians, confident of success, would not listen to the 
wiser counsel which urged them to break up this strong 
formation by means of fire-ships, before attacking. They 
had a fair wind, and bore down on the Genoese, only to 
find their front impregnable. The sailors of the Genoese 
fleet — thanks to tlie bridges between their ships — were able 
to concentrate at any point which was especially menaced. 
The Venetians were utterly defeated, with a loss of twenty- 
five galleys. 

The result of this defeat soon made itself felt at Con- 
stantinople, where the Emperor Paleologus bestowed all his 
favour and support upon the Genoese, encouraging them in 
their constant acts of hostility to the Venetians. These 
brawls ended in a set attack upon the Venetian quarter; 
many were slain, their ships destroyed, and the Emperor 
even imprisoned the Venetian Bailo, Marco Bembo. These 
misfortunes set Venice in a blaze. The whole city lent 
itself to the preparation of a fleet wliich was placed under 
the command of Euggiero Morosini. He sailed through the 
Dardanelles, seized and burned the shipping which he 
found, pushed on to the walls of Constantinople, and cast 
anchor opposite the Imperial palace. He demanded satisfac- 
tion ; it was refused. He brought his Greek prisoners upon 
deck, and in sight of their townsmen and their Emperor he 
caused them to be scourged. Finally, Andronicus was forced 
to purcliase the departure of Morosini at an exorbitant price, 
with which the victor returned to Venice. 

But the Venetian triumph was short-lived. In 1298, 
on 8th September, the Admiral of the Eepublic, 
Andrea Dandolo, with a fleet of ninety -five sail, 
met the Genoese commander, Lamba Doria, in the waters 
of Curzola. Doria's tactics were superior. He detached a 
squadron of fifteen galleys with instructions to cruise out of 

Bight, and to sail dowu upon the enemy when the battle was 
half over. The conflict began early in the morning, 
and Doria succeeded iu placing the rising sun at his 
back ; he bore down upon the Venetians, who had not merely 
the morning breeze against them, but the sun in their eyes. 
Iu spite of these disadvantt^es, however, and thanks chiefly 
to the splendid fighting of the Chioggiotti, the Venetians 
were winning, when the fifteen galleys in ambush suddenly 
appeared upon the scene of conflict, and altered the whole 
aspect of the fight The Venetians, taken iu the flank, 
fell into confusion ; the Genoese recovered their spirit ; 
the battle ended in the utter defeat of Venice. Andrea 
Dandolo refused to survive his disgrace ; in the night he 
dashed his brains out against the side of his galley. Among 
the many prisoners captured and taken to Genoa was Marco 
Polo, the traveller. To his loss of liberty at Curzola we 
doubtless owe the possession of hla incomparable book of 
travels, which he dictated in his Genoese prison, to while 
away the time. 

Victorious though Genoa had been at Curzola, it was 
not a cheap victory ; her losses were little if at all inferior 
to those of Venice. The long struggle had told severely 
on both Republics ; although \'enice immediately took steps 
to fit out a new fleet. Finally, in 1299,Matteo Visconti 
succeeded in acting as mediator. A peace was stipulated. 
The terms were honourable to both parties, and show no 
traces of the fact that Venice was concluding it after a 
defeat. The peace was to be perpetual. If Venice attacked 
tlie Greek Empire and Genoa defended it, that was not to 
constitute a breach of treaty. If Genoa went to war with 
Pisa, Venice was not to interfere. The captains of Genoese 
and Venetian vessels were to respect each other's flag. In 
fact the treaty constituted an obligation upon both Republics 
to abstain from any molestations, or interference one with the 
other, and closed, though only for a short time, one period 
of this long struggle between Genoa and Venice. 

To turn now to the second group of events which dis- 
tinguished the reign of Pietro Gradenigo, the final stages in 
I the constitutional growth of Venice. We have seen from time 


to time how the aristocracy, which was emerging, thanks to its 
commercial wealth, had been steadily pursuing its two 
objects of reducing the Doge and extruding the people * 

from all share in the Government ; but it had not yet suc- 
ceeded in becoming an oligarchy strictly speaking, a close 
caste in the State. From the date of the creation of the first 
Great Council in 1172, the tendency had undoubtedly been 
in that direction. The Great Council was still nominally 
chosen from among the wealthier as well as from the poorer 
citizens ; but by a natural process we find certain families 
gradually gaining a preponderance — for example, in the year 
1293 there were eighteen Contarini, eleven Morosini, and ten 
Foscari in the Council. By the famous measure, known as 
the Serrata del Maggior Consiglio, or closing of the Great 
Council, this tendency was on the point of being confirmed. 
The oligarchy, which had been slowly forming itself during 
the last century and a quarter, was about to become 
suddenly rigid, and Venice to acquire, at one stroke, that 
peculiar constitution which distinguished her throughout the 
rest of her career. 

But the closing of the Great Council was in no sense a 
coup (TStat ; it was rather the last and the inevitable step 
in a long process. As far back as 1286, in the reign of 
Giovanni Dandolo, a motion had been introduced to provide 
that only those whose paternal ancestors had sat in the 
Great Council should be eligible to that Council for the 
future. We have no record of the debate upon this momen- 
tous proposal ; but here for the first time we find a pro- 
gramme, a declaration, that there was a party in the State 
desirous of rendering the basis of the Venetian constitution 
a close oligarchy. The measure was thrown out by 82 
votes against 48, with 10 neutmls. Ten years later, on 
6th March 1296, the Doge Gradenigo, a strong 
partisan of the rising aristocracy and its policy, ^ 
reopened the question, but his proposals were rejected. Then, 
with that determination and strength of will for which he 
was remarkable, Gradenigo set himself to override opposition, 
and to carry to a conclusion the political aspirations of the 
party to which he belonged. 


On the last day of February 1297 the following law 
j2g- was proposed and passed : — 

I 1, That the Council of Forty are to ballot, one by one, the 

names of all those who during the last four years have had a seat in 
the Great Conncil. Those who receive twelve votes and upwards 
are to belong to the Great Council. 

2. On return from absence abroad, a fresh ballot is required. 

3. Three electors shall be chosen to submit names of fresh candidates 
for the Great Council, on the authority and approval of the Doge. The 
three electors hold office for one year. 

4. The present law may not be revoked except with the consent of 
5 out of 6 ducal Councillors, 2S of the Council of Forty, and two- 
thirds of the Great Council. 

The first clause of this law at once created a special 
caste in the State, those who had tluring the last four years 
enjoyed a seat in the Great Council. The Great Council, 
the basis of the whole constitution and the sole source of 
office in the State, was thus closed to all hut this privileged 
class. The third clause, however, provided a slight opening 
through which it was still possible for a Venetian citizen, 
who did not belong to the favoured class, to save himself 
from disenfranchisement, and to retain his rights in the 
State. The three electors had the faculty of submitting names 
for ballot to the Council of Forty. They, however, obeying 
the spirit which was animating the whole of tliis reform, very 
soon laid down a rule for their own guidance in the choice 
of names to be submitted to the Forty ; they declared that 
only those who could prove that a paternal ancestor had sat 
in the Great Council, after its creation in 1176, should now 
be eligible as members of the present Great Council. It is 
in this provision that we find the essence of the Serrata dd 
MaggioT CoimgHo. By it the State was arbitrarily divided 
into three classes — (1) those who neither in their own 
person nor in that of their parents had ever enjoyed a seat 
in the Great Council. These, the vast majority of Venetians, 
were disfranchised, declared ineligible, rendered voiceless for 
ever in the government of their country; (2) those whose 
ancestors had sat in the Great Council ; these were eligible, 
and as a matter of fact were gradually admitted to the Great 
Council. It is noteworthy that the numbers of the Great 

Council rose rapidly after the Serrata; in 1295 it reckoned 
260 members; in 1296, 210; in 1311, 1017; in 
1340, 1212; (3) finally, those who were already "^^' 
inside the Council, that is those who had held a seat in the 
Council during the four years preceding 1297, 

Such was the famous Serrata del Maggior Consiglio 
which gave to the Republic of Venice its peculiar oli- 
garchical character. The Serrata derived its importance 
from the fact that the Great Council was the root of 
Venetian political life, the source of all office, the basis of 
the constitutional pyramid. Exclusion from it meant 
political annihilation. And now, by this act, the majority 
of Venetians were excluded ; the minority had succeeded in 
establishing a monopoly in the government. The work 
was not completed at one stroke ; various minor deveiop- 
ments, rounding off the design of the triumphant oligarchy, 
required to be introduced. Election by the grace of the 
Doge and the vote of the Forty was rendered more and 
more difficult, thereby closing even that port through which 
some slight stream of popular blood might flow in to 
reanimate the governing caste, In 1315 a list of all those 
who were eligible for election was compiled. The scrutiny 
of this catalogue was entrusted to the Avo<jadoH di Comim. 
and became continually more and more severe. To ensure 
the purity of the blood they opened a register of marriages 
and births. Illegitimate children, or those legitimated 
after wedlock, or those bom in wedlock of a patrician 
father and a non-patrician mother, were rigidly excluded. 
Thus the aristocracy proceeded to construct itself more and 
more upon a purely oligarchical basis. A consideration of the 
results produced by this great constitutional change, which 
led up to the one serious internal revolution in Venice, the 
conspiracy of Bajamonte Tiepolo, will form the subject of 
the following chapter. 

Difference between Venice and other Italian city States — Strength and weak- 
neas of the olifiBrehy— Opposition to tho closing of the Council— Marin 
Boaionif^— War of Forrara^First Htep on the mainland of Italy— Quarrel 
with the Pope — Interdict — Resnlta — Division in the city — Venetian 
garriaon in Ferrara killed— Party fends in Venice— The bBginninga of 
the Tiepoline oonnpiracy — Byamonte sent for ; hia advice — Details of 
the plot: ita execntion anii failure — Fate of tlic eonspiretore — The 
Council of Tea ; temporary at first ; continued in office from year to 
year ; made permanent — Nature of the Ten — Method of election — The 
Cajii : their duties— Meeting-piace — Composition of the tribunal : its 
procedure — View of the VenetiaD ci 

Though we have frequently had occasion to remark that 
Venice, as yet, belonged in no way to the Italian 
peninsula, that her constitutional history is not to be 
judged or studied by a comparison between the lines of 
evolution pursued in other Italian city States ; yet, just at 
this most important moment of her political life, a glance at 
■what was taking place in the rest of North Italy will not 
be on instructive. For in a certain sense the spirit which 
waa governing the development of the mainland cities pene- 
trated into the quieter waters of the l^oon. 

It was precisely at this epoch that the despots, the 
Signori, began to emerge in almost every Italian city. The 
outcome of a reaction against the long and exhausting wars 
of Guelf and Ghibelline, that struggle between the natural 
municipal instinct of the Italians and the idea of feudalism 
imposed upon Italy by foreign domination, which had torn 
each Italian commune in sunder, these Signori came to their 
sovereignty through diplomacy rather than through blood ; 
they crushed the few families that might rival them, it is 


true, and they indulged in bloody caprices, but they left 
the masa of the citizens so free and so peaceful 
that they hardly knew that they were being 
ruled. The government of the Signori was, on the whole, 
humane. Their title was to be found in the consent of 
a population wearied with excessive bloodshed, longing 
for the quiet which they now enjoyed. Accordingly we 
find the Visconti emerging in Milan, the Scalas in 
Verona, the Carrareai in Padua, aud 90 on in almost 
every impori:ant commune of North Italy. A somewhat 
similar movement had been taking place in Venice ; but 
the issue, as we shall see, was widely different. Venice 
had been subject to a process of preparation very unlike 
to that which had formed the mainland cities ; she bad 
not come under the donation of Pepin and the pact of 
Karl the Great ; she therefore was influenced very slightly 
by the dualism between Pope and Emperor which was 
of such vast moment in the history of other Italian 
townships ; she had never passed under the yoke of 
the feudal system, and therefore there were no arbitrary 
divisions in the State, no dominant principle running 
counter to the national instinct She had been enabled, by 
the fortunate accident of her position, to pursue her own 
natural line of politieal evolution from her democratic germ. 
undisturbed by extraneous influences. And so when other 
Italian cities emerged from the crisis with an Individual 
despot as lord of the State, Venice achieved her constitu- 
tional maturity with a close oligarchy as master of her 
destinies. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance 
of this fact in the history of the Eepublic. To this, no 
doubt, she owed her great longevity. An individual despot, 
however beneficent, was exposed to a thousand dangers ; 
bis family might become exhausted or might die out ; the 
assassin's dagger was always near him ; under no circum- 
stances could he escape the jealousy and the ambition of his 
neigliboura. But the oligarchy was immortal ; the assassin's 
dagger is powerless against a corporation ; in a multitude of 
councillors there is thought to be safety ; tlie people of Venice 
were cajoled into acquiescence ; and the members of : 

a members of the I 


ruling class, when once their order became a close caste, 
were one and all interested in the maintenance of 
that order. Venice achieved a constitution, which 
in comparison with the constitutions of the mainland States, 
was as iron to a reed. But this very strength and solidity 
concealed a latent danger. For when the mainland despots 
fell one by one, it was inevitable that Venice, the only 
permanent power in their neighbourhood, should seize their 
territory and thereby create that land Empire wliich em- 
broiled her in European politics, altered the whole course of 
her history, and ultimately contributed to her ruin. 

That result, however, no Venetian could have foreseen 

foreseeing, have avoided. In the meantime Venice, by 

the Serraia dd Maggior Consiglio, completed the period of 

her constitutional growth, and took lier place among 

European nations as the State with the maturest and the 

)st powerful political mechanism. 

The oligarchy was formally created by the Scrrata, and 
was more coherent in its essential structiire than any of its 
neighbour despotisms. But tlie despot had one signal 
advantage over the oligarchy; in executive rapidity he was 
infinitely its superior. The Magijior Consigiio, and even 
|the Senate, was too large a body to be executively efficient; 
the Doge, as we have seen, was an object of suspicion, and 
had been reduced to a nonentity in the constitution. The 
oligarchy was created, it is true, but it wanted an arm. 
How it supplied this defect, and so completed and rounded 
off the Venetian constitution by the creation of the Council 
of Ten, shall be explained in the present chapter. 

The closing of the Great Council was a movement un- 
popular with the majority of Venetians. It was not to pass 
unchallenged. Twice in the next ten years Venetians were 
to shed Venetian blood as the seal of the new order of 


It appears that the first protest against the new constitu- 
tion came from the people alone. In the year 1300, 
Marin Bocconio, a man of wealth but not of noble 

blood, prepared a plot for the overthrow of the Government. 

Q^^^^roniclea detail the picturesque incident of Bocconio 


and his followers knocking at the door of the Great Council, 
and claiming their right to a voice in the government 
of the State ; the Doge is said to liave invited them 
to enter one by one in order to receive their due ; but he did 
not say what he considered that due to be. They accepted 
the invitation and entered : one by one, they were seized 
and killed to the number of ten, " and so," says the chronicle, 
" ended this conspiracy in such wise that no one dare any 
more open his mouth after that fashion." Stricter history 
may lead us to believe that the conspirators were arrested 
before they could mature their plans, and their leaders hanged. 
twrpissivie, that is head downwards, between the columns 
near the Porta della Carta. However that may be, Bot- 
conio'a conspiracy was crushed. The triumphant Doge 
and his party seized the opportunity to render admission u» 
the ruling caste still more difficult. For the future no new 
name could be presented as a candidate for the M^gior 
Consiglio, unless its owner had obtained upwards of twent; 
votes in the Council of Forty. 

The first protest proved a failure. The second and more 
formidable protest was delayed for another ten years. And 
as external disasters had a cousiderablo share in precipitating 
events, we must turn now to a consideration of what was 
taking place outside Venice. 

We have seen that Ferrara, from earliest times, had 
always been an object of commercial interest to Venice. 
The papal claims to suzerainty over the city were baseil 
upon the inheritance of Matilda, Countess of Tuscany ; and 
when Ferrara was seized and held by the Ghibelline leader, 
Salinguerra, on behalf of the Emperor Frederick II., Venice 
had lent most valuable aid in capturing the place, and in 
establishing there the Eate family as prot^g& of the Holy 
See. There is little doubt that Venice entertained the 
idea of making herself mistress of Ferrara should a favour- 
able opportunity present itself. With this object in view- 
she maintained intimate relations in the city by means of 
her Visdomino, or representative there. She assisted Azzu 
d'Este against the enemies, whom the aggrandisement of his 
family procured for him in Bologna, Verona, and Mantaa ; 

and when he fell ill the Government sent three nobles to 
Ferrara with orders to spare no efforts in order that 
the succession might be directed in a way agreeable 
to the Eepublic 

The question of the succession was likely to raise a 
dispute. Az/o had no legitimate children ; his brothers, 
Francesco and Aldrovandino, had. But Azzo had one 
natural son, Fresco, who also had a son, Folco ; and this 
grandson Azzo named his heir. Azzo died on 1st Februarj- 
1308, Fresco endeavoured to protect his son's 
iuheritance against his uncles, Francesco and Aldro- 
vandino. But he was weak and unpopular. In his straits 
he appealed for help to Venice, who sent her militia into 
the city. Another actor, however, was about to appear on 
the scene. The Pope, as overlord of Ferrara, asserted his 
right to direct the succession. He supported Francesco, 
and despatched his troops to take over the city in the name of 
the Church. In the face of this new complication. Fresco 
ceded to the Eepublic his son's claims on Ferrara, and retired 
to Venice, leaving the lagoon city to learn, for the first time 
in her history, what difficulties were implied in any attempt 
on her part to foi-ra a mainland State, The troops of Fran- 
cesco d'Este and of the Pope entered Ferrara, which was 
occupied in the name of the Cimrcb. But the Venetians still 
held the strongest situation in Ferrara, the Castle Tedaldo, 
whence they could bombard the city. The Pope sent impera- 
tive orders that the Venetians were to evacuate the fortress at 
once j^the Venetians replied that they were in their rights, by 
virtue of the concession which Fresco had made in their favour. 
The situation was one of great gravity and of the highest 
importance in the history of the Eepublic. It admirably illus- 
trates one of the difficulties to which Venice was exposed. For 
it was inevitable that a growing State, such as Venice, young, 
hardy, vigorous, should endeavour to expand ; at the same time 
any extension on the mainland of Italy deprived her of that 
isolation which had been so beneficial in her early develop- 
ment, embroiled her in the endless complications of the Italian 
peninsula, and, as we shall presently see, exposed to view one 
of the moBt serious defects in her remarkable constitution, her 



executive incompetence. In fact, Venice, during this episode 
of the Ferrareae war, gave the first indications of a 
desire to extend upon the Italian mainland.a tendency 
which was to be slowly developed until it reached its Fullest 
expression in the reign of the Doge Francesco Foscari, in 1 4 24. 
When the news of the papal attitude reached Venice, 
the gravity of the situation was immediately appreciated. 
The Great Council waa summoned to deliberate. The 
radical defect of the new oligarchy, its weakness in execu- 
tive, its cumbersomeness and difficulty of movement, were 
felt at once. The remedy applied demonstrates a natural bias 
towards administration through a series of colleges, or com- 
mittees, a tendency in the Magtjior Gonsiglio to delegate 
all those executive powers which it possessed, in theory at 
least, as the basis of the ruling oligarchy. This bias 
ia characteristic of the Venetian constitution, and was 
presently to receive its moat conapicuous example in the 
creation of the Council of Ten. The Great Council now 
appointed a committee to manage the affairs of Ferrara. 
This college was entrusted with powers to reply to the 
papal ambassadors, who had been sent to demand the resti- 
tution of Castle Tedaldo and indemnification for damage 
received. They did ao, asserting that Ferrara was a free 
possession of the d'Este family, which was therefore at 
liberty to dispose of it ; the d'Este had done so by ceding 
it to Venice, whose it now was. And to remove any doubt 
as to the nature of Venetian intentions on Ferrara, and 
their determination to possess the city abaolutely, proposals 
for an accommodation, by which the Republic was to receive 
the Ferrareae as a fief of the Church in return for a tribute, 
were curtly refused. Then the papal legates threatened a 
bull of excommunication and interdict against Venice. 
her Doge, her councils, her generala ; ^ainat all who had 
assisted to oppose the papal arms in Ferrara ; above all, 
against the fighting Chioggiotti. All Venetian goods in 
Ferrara were to be confiscated, all commercial contracts 
annulled, all traffic with Venice suspended, unless the 
Kepublic abandoned her present line of action within ten 
days. The Mangier Consiglio met once more to deliberate. 




and the speech said to have been then delivered by the 
Doge, clearly indicates the political conceptions of 
the new party which had juat come into power; 
the tone is militant, aggressive, haughty. "It is the duty," 
said Gradenigo, " of every good prince, and of every worthy 
citizen, to enlarge the State, to increase the Republic, and 
to seek its weal by every means in his power. Favourable 
occasions present themselves but rarely, and they are wise 
who know how to seize them the moment they offer them- 
selves ; while they are either foolish or mad who do not see 
them, or, seeing them, do not know how to use tbem. Children 
are terrified by words; valiant men fear not even the sword's 
point." Very significant phrases in the month of a Venetian 
Doge, showing in the clearest light the attitude of the new 
oligarchy towards the policy of mainland Empire and towards 
the Curia of Eome. The opposition was led by a Tiepolo, 
and the reply was such as might have been looked for in refu- 
tation of the doctrines of expediency and egotism, implicit 
in the Doge's speech. Tiepolo ui^ed principles as against 
opportunism ; it was the duty of a good prince and of all 
worthy citizens to keep the fear of God before their eyes, and 
that was not to be done by attacking his vicar on earth ; 
no war could be successful, no policy fruitful, if founded 
upon impiety and injustice. But the party of the Doge, 
the party in the ascendant, was too strong and too confident 
in its young powers to pay any heed to such abstractions 
as these. The Council voted to retain Ferrara. The result 
of the vote served to exasperate the defeated party ; the 
city was divided into two camps, those who held with the 
Doge and those who held with Tiepolo ; brawls, deeds of 
violence, murders, became frequent; the citizens began to arm. 
It seemed that Venice was on the high road to civil war. 

But the hatred of the Doge and his policy was to be 
still farther exasperated by the results of that policy. On 
27th March 1309 the Pope published his excom- 
munication and interdict ; the clergy were ordered 
to leave Venetian territorj-. Instantly all the accumulated 
jealousy of Venetian commercial prosperity burst out. In 
Asia Minor and in England, no less than in Italy itself, 


Venetian merchants were threateaed in their lives i 
deapoiled of their property. Venetian commerce 
was everywhere ruined ; vi-ith the Saracens only, as 
with pagans for whom the thunders of Kome were meaning- 
less, could the Eepublic preserve those commercial relations 
without which she was lost. 

In this moment of supreme danger and discoiiiagement 
the Doge and his party showed the stuff of which they 
were made ; the new oligarchy justified its right to govern 
by the firmness and the vigour of its conduct The day on 
which the Government received notice that the bull had been 
published, it ordered its Podesti\ in Ferrara to retire to 
the fortress of Castle Tedaldo, and to continue to exercise 
his functions from that stronghold. It also instructed the 
captain in Ferrara to make an estimate of the men and 
munitions which he would require, and promised that ihey 
should bo sent to him at once ; for, as they added, " We are 
resolved to act like virile men for the conservation of our 
rights and your honour." But the fortune of war was 
against them. Plague broke out in the city. Castle Tedaldo 
was pressed ever closer and closer. At last it fell, and the 
whole Venetian garrison was put to the sword. Events, 
which we shall have now to relate, were taking place inside 
Venice which rendered impossible any further attempt to hold 
Ferrara. Tlie Eepublic sent ambassadors to the Papal Court 
iu Avignon, and in June 1311 n reconciliation took place, 
in virtue of which the Eepublic paid a certain indemnity 
to the Pope, and received his permission, whatever it was 
worth, to resume their trade with the Ferrarese. 

In Venice we have seen party feeling rising higher and 
higher. The closing of the Great Council had exasperated 
a large section of the community, which was thereby ex- 
cluded from all share in the government ; the Ferrarese war, 
the interdict, and the ruin of Venetian trade increased the 
animosity against the new oligarchy and its Doge, the cause 
of all these disasters. On the other band, Gradenjgo and 
his party were in power ; they were firm, they were strong. 
Street brawling became so frequent that the Government 
issued an order forbidding any citizen to carry arms. T he 



police magistrates, the Sii/>iori di Notte, were entrusted with 
the enforcement of the law. Matters reached a crisis 
over the election of Doimo, Count of Veglia, to a seat 
as ft ducal councillor. He was supported by the Doge's party, 
aud hotly opposed by Jacopo Querini and the Tiepoline 
faction, who demonstrated with efficacy that, by law, counts 
of Dalmatia were excluded from all branches of the consti- 
tution, except the Magyioi- Consiglio and the Senate. The 
struggle grew so fierce that they came to blows in the 
council chamber. But the oligarchy possessed a majority 
in the Great Council. Doimo was elected. The result 
had an instant effect in the Piazza and in the streets. The 
partisans of Tiepolo and those of Dandolo went in armed 
groups. They met and fought ; and some were wounded. 
One evening, aa Piero Querini and his followers were standing 
near the arcades at Rialto, Marco Morosini, a Siffiuyre di Nolle, 
chanced to pass by; partly in discharge of his duty, more 
from faction venom, Morosini came up to Querini and said, 
" Let me search you." Piero replied by a violent kick in 
the stomach, which threw Morosini to the ground ; the Querini 
men drew their weapons, and falling on the watch put them 
to flight. This overt act of rebellion on the part of so 
highly placed a family as the Querini brought on the final 
stage in the crisis. Marco Querini, the brother of Piero, 
called a meeting of the disaffected. He drew a picture of 
the present condition of the Republic, with many of its 
best citizens disfranchised, its commerce ruined, at war with 
the Pope. The cause of all these iCs was the new oligarchy, 
and that could not be reformed as long as its chief and 
inspiring genius, the Doge, remained alive. Before proceed- 
ing any further, however, lie recommended that they should 
invite Bajamonte Tiepolo, whose popularity was expressed 
in the title of il gran cavaliere which the people had bestowed 
on him, to assist them with his counsel. Tiepolo arrived, 
and at the second meeting in Ca' Querini the whole situ- 
ation was discussed and the line of action chosen. Marco 
Querini attacked the policy of the Doge in closing the Great 
Council, and thereby rendering so many Venetians Venetians 
no more. What, too, was to be said of the disastrous war of 


Ferrara ? What of the excommunication it entailed ? The 
Doge was the cause of all this. It was time to wake 
up and to save the country. Tiepolo followed with 
more explicit and more fiery declamations. He concluded with 
these words : '' Let us leave talk on one side now, and come 
to action. Let us choose a good head of the State, a man 
beloved of the people and capable of leading the city back to 
her ancient ordinances, and of preserving and augmenting 
her liberty." The only voice raised in protest against 
violent measures was that of Jacopo Querini His age and 
his character gained him a specious consent. But the moie 
ardent spirits were only waiting till he should leave for 
Constantinople, when they would return to their original 
design of destroying the Doge. On Jacopo*s departure a 
final meeting determined the details of the plot. All the 
conspirators were to assemble armed in the house of Marco 
Querini beyond the Eialto, on the night of Saturday the 
13th June; thence, at the dawn of the 14th, they were to 
issue in two bodies, one under Marco, the other under Baja- 
monte Tiepolo, and to reach the Piazza, Querini by the 
Ponte de* Dai, Tiepolo by the Merceria. Meantime cmother 
conspirator, Badoer Badoer, was sent to raise troops near 
Padua, with orders to reach Venice on the appointed day. 

But there was a traitor among them. The Doge 
Gradenigo had an intuition that some movement was in 
preparation, but he possessed no certain information as to its 
nature and scope. Such information was now supplied to 
him by Marco Donate, who had joined the conspiracy at 
the beginning, but now abandoned it When the Doge 
learned the details of the plot he took the necessary steps. 
He sent orders to the Podest^ of Chioggia, TorceUo, and 
Murano to come at once to Venice, with as many men as 
they could put together. He made the nobles arm their 
servants, and join him in the Piazza. All these prepara- 
tions had to be carried out with speed and secrecy, for the 
appointed day had already arrived. 

Meantime beyond the Rialto, in the house of the Querini, 
the conspirators had assembled and were waiting for the dawn. 
Day broke on Sunday 14th in thunder, wind, and a deluge of 


I rain, which spread all over the lagoon, and prevented Badoer 
and hia Paduan contingent from arriving on the 
scene. But Querini and Tiepolo could not know that. 
I They resolved to abide by their original plan. Tliey issued 
I from the Querini house in two boJies, shouting " Liberty I 
I death to Gradenigo ! " and took the appointed routes to reach 
J the Piazza. Marco Querini was the first to arrive. As he 
1 fuid his men debouched upon the square from the Ponte de' 
I Dai, Gradenigo ordered a charge. The conflict proved short 
J but severe, Querini's followers were routed, and Marco him- 
I self, together with his son, was slain. Bajamonte meantime 
r followed the line prescribed. When he reached the big elder 
J tree which then grew at San Giuliano he baited, and divided 
[ his men into two companies ; one with orders to enter the 
1 Piazza by the way of the existing clock-tower, the other by 
San Basso. The disposition may have been a good one, but 
under the circumstances it caused a fatal waste of invaluable 
time. When Tiepolo emerged on the Piazza, Querini had 
already been defeated ; the Doge's victorious followers were 
I able to concentrate their whole force against Bajamonte. He 
too was routed, and forced to fly. The populace, which had 
remained neutral spectators at the beginning of the conflict, 
[ now sided with the Doge. The shattered remnants of Tiepolo's 
t band were received with a sliower of bricks from the house 
I windows, as they fled up the Merceria. His standard-bearer, 
■■carrying a banner iuseribed with the one word Libertas, was 
ft'lelled and killed by a stone mortar flung by a woman from 
window. The conspirators made a brief rally in the 
ICampo San Luca, but were again defeated and driven across 
T tiie Kialto ; the whole design fell to ruin. It only 
l-ientained to crush the broken groups of the conspirators' 
■forces. Badoer was met, defeated, and captured, with his 
I Paduan contingent, on the lagoon. He was tried, con- 
Idenmed, and beheaded. The same fate would probably 
Iltave been in store for Bajamonte had he fallen into the 
I Doge's hands ; but he still held out, formidably fortified in the 
I Querini houses beyond the Rialto, and the Doge, though 
^victorious, was not so popular that he could afford to risk 
■the eflfect of prolonging the civil war inside the city. He 

offered terms to Tiepolo, the mildness of which clea 
indicates his doubts as to the strength of his own 
position in the city. Tiepolo and his more promi- 
nent followers were banished from Venice ; the rest i 
pardoned. Bajamoute continued to haunt the shores of the 
lagoon. From Padua and from Treviso he plotted against the 
Eepublic, availing himself everywhere of that jealousy which 
Venice inspired in her neighbours. But his power was really 
broken. The Doge and the young aristocracy were victorious; 
and the State gradually settled down under the new order of 
the constitution which achieved its consolidation by theMefe«t 
of Querini and Tiepolo, and was destined to be seriously 
disturbed only once again by the conspiracy o£ Marin Falier. 

Nevertheless, although victorious the new aristocracy was 
not fully aware how thorough its victory had really been. 
The immensity of the danger occupied their minds. Tie- 
polo's conspiracy was far more serious than Bocconio'a. It 
came far nearer to success. Had the storm not delayed 
Badoer'a arrival, it is impossible to say what the issue might 
liave been, and the number and the prominence of Baja- 
monte's followers warned the Government that there was a 
lat^e body of Venetians in the State who were sworn enemies 
of the new constitution. Tiepolo's movements continued to 
arouse the alarm and the vigilance of the Doge. It seemi^ 
that some more rapid, secret, and efficient body than the 
Great Council or the Senate was imperatively required to 
track the operations of the traitors, and to watch over the 
safety of the State, Venice had already found, during the 
anxieties and difBculties of the Ferrarese war, the need for 
some such extraneous body, had learned that the ordinary 
machinery of the State was not sufficient to meet extraordinary 
crises. A committee of public safety appeared to be irapera- 
tivelj' demanded by the dangers of the Tiepoline conspiracy. 

On the 10th July, not a month after the collapse 
of Bajamonte's rebellion, a motion was made in the 
Great Council that the committee for the affairs 
of Ferrara, which was still in existence, together with 
the three chiefs of the Supreme Court, should be entrusted 
to take all steps which might he rendered advisable by 



recent events. The motion was rejected on the ground that 
the committee of Ferrara had sufficient employment 
in the discharge of its own special duties. An amend- 
ment proposed that ten members of the Magifiar Coiisiglio 
should be elected by that Council, and ten appointed by the 
Doge, his Councillors, and the chiefs of the Supreme Court ; 
from among these twenty, ten were to be subsequently elected 
by the Great Council. The committee thus created might 
not contain more than one member of a family at a time ; 
the I'rocurators of S. Mark alone were to be ineligible ; the 
committee was to continue its functions down to Michaelmas. 
This amendment found acceptance ; and here we have the 
origin of the famous Council of Ten. It was a temporary 
committee of safety in its beginning, but, when Michaelmas 
came, the Doge pleaded for an extension of two months, on 
the ground that Tiepolo still menaced the State. The value 
end the efficacy of the new Council became more and more 
obvious the longer it lived, and its lease of life was con- 
tinually renewed, until on 20th July 1335 it was declared 

Thus under the pressure of the Tiepoline conspiracy, and 
following a natural tendency already displayed in the war 
of Ferrara, the new aristocracy remedied the one serious 
defect in its constitution — its executive incompetence — and 
acquired that weapon which its own idea of itself as a 
dominant oligarchy, demanded. Venice emerged from the 
throes of the revolution entailed by the Scrraia del Mfti/gior 
Consiglio with her constitution complete, with the Council 
of Ten as her real ruler; the power of the State was con- 
centrated in the hands of a corporation, not, as in other 
Italian cities, in the hands of an individual lord. 

Misconceptions and exaggerations as to the nature of 
ithia famous Citnsiglui de' Died are o( such common occurrence 
that it may not be amiss to explain its real construc- 
tioQ, its powers, the method of its procedure. The members 
of the Ten were elected in the Great Council for one 
year only, and were not re-eligible for the year after they 
had held office. Every month the Ten elected three of their 
own number as chiefs, or Capi of the Council. It waa the 



duty of the chiefs to receive and open all communications 
addressed to the Ten, to prepare the business to be 
submitted to the Council, and to attend to the execu- 
tion of its decrees. During their month of office the Caipi 
were obliged to stay at home ; they were forbidden to mix with 
their brother patricians, so as to avoid exposing themselves 
to the seduction of bribes and other illegitimate influences. 
They were also obliged to present the Council, on the 
first of each month, with a complete list of all the prisoners 
waiting trial on the order of the Ten, and to take every 
means to secure a rapid jail-delivery. They were required 
to give audience to all who sought them, on Tuesdays, 
Thursdays, and Saturdays. As a proof of the exaggerations 
current regarding the powers of the Ten, we must observe 
that before proceeding to arrest a suspect, the chiefs of the 
Ten were obliged to secure the approval of four out of the 
six ducal councillors, and two out of the three chiefs of the 
Supreme Court. 

The Council of Ten met in one of the smaller rooms of 
the ducal palace. The chamber is well lighted with large 
^vindows looking on to the canal which passes under the 
Bridge of Sighs. The roof was afterwards painted by 
Veronese. The court consisted, besides the Ten, of the 
Doge and his six councillors, seventeen members in aU, of 
whom twelve were necessary to make a quorum. One of 
the Avogadori di Coviun, or State advocates, was always 
present, without the power to vote, but to act as clerk 
to the court, informing it of the law and correcting it 
where its procedure seemed informal. Subsequently it 
became customary to add twenty members to the Council, 
elected in the Maggior Consiglio, for each important case as 
it arose. 

The Doge presided, seated in the middle of the panelled 
semicircle which closes one end of the chamber. He was 
supported by his councillors, robed in crimson; then came 
the chiefs of the Ten in violet ; and then the members of 
the Council in black. 

The sitting was opened by the secretary reading the 
letters addressed to the Died ; this was followed by the list 


of compliiints or accusations, which had reached the chiefs of 
the Council since the last sitting. These accusations 
were either public, that is, signed hy the denouncer, 
or secret, that is, auonymona. If the accusation was puhlic, 
the Ten proceeded to vote upon the question whether they 
should take it into consideration or not. If four-fifths of the 
councillors voted " Yes," the case was entered on the list 
causes to be tried. If the accusation was secret, then, 
before the questioo whether the Council should take it into 
(JonsideratioQ could be raised, the Doge, his six councillors, 
Bud the three Gap, were called oh to declare, unanimously, 
that the contents of the accusation was a matter of pubhc 
concern, and this declaration required to be confirmed by a 
vote of five-sixths of the Council ; the question of taking the 
flubject into consideration was then submitted, and if four- 
fifths voted affirmatively the case was placed on the list. 

Having discharged the denunciations for the day, the 
■Council proceeded to take up the first case on the list. The 
Avogadori read a report on the case, and the foi-m of warrant 
for summons or for arrest. The question was then put 
whether the Council should proceed with the case or not. 
If the answer was affirmative, the warrant issued, and the 
Capi were instructed to give it execution. When the 
accused was iu the hands of the Ten, a sub-committee, con- 
siBtiag of one ducal councillor, two members of the Ten, 
and one Avofodor di C<yinun, received orders to prepare the 
within fifteen days. This committee examined the 
prisoner and the witnesses, and, if it thought fit, applied 
'torture, either of the cord, by which the patient was tied to 
% rope run over a pulley, raised from the ground, and then let 
fall, or of fire, by which his bare feet were exposed to an open 
brazier. The prisoner was not confronted with his accusers 
BOr with witnesses, and had no other advocate than himself. 
At the close of fifteen days the committee presented its 
jeport of the case. If the number of separate documents 
exceeded 150 the report had to be read twice through, ou 
separate days, so that the Council might be sure that they 
sped all the facts. When the report liad been read 
lOtion waa made in this form, " After what has been read and 

said, do you tliiuk that the prisoner shoulil be condemned ?" 
If the motion obtained a majority, the question of the 
sentence was then raised. Any member of the 
Council ■was at liberty to propose a penalty, or to move an 
amendment reducing the severity of a sentence proposed by 
another member. Each proposition with its amendments 
was balloted. If no proposition or amendment obtained 
a majority after being balloted five times, the accused was 
discharged, or his case transmitted to another coiirt. The 
punishments ranged from fines, through outlawry, the 
galleys, imprisonment, and mutilation, to death by strangling 
or drowniug, either in public or in secret. 

Such was the constitution of this famous tribunal ; not 
the arbitrary, irresponsible, cruel, and tyrannous institution 
it has so frequently been represented, but a body strictly 
governed by its own rules, constantly changing its com- 
ponent members, who were therefore unable ever to exercise 
a dangerous abuse of their power, and who, upon issuiug from 
their single year of office, were instantly liable to prosecu- 
tion by the very tribunal of which they had recently formed 
a part Secret, it is true, by the very nature of its origin, 
which was the necessity for supplying the State with some 
rapid and efficient executive arm^ — -and this secrecy, coupled 
with the character of the cases which came before the Ten, 
chiefly contributed to create that awe and dread wliich the 
Council undoubtedly inspired in the minds of Venetians and 
foreigners ahke. For the Ten was established as a committee 
of public safety in its origin. It was the instrument of the 
new aristocracy, and they made use of it for the preserva- 
tion of their own order. The cases, therefore, wliich came 
before the Teu were often of the highest importance; dramatic, 
and striking to the public imagination — treason against the 
State, as in the story of Falier and Carmagnola ; suppres- 
sion of a powerful family, for example, of the Foscari; 
conservation of public morals and the discipline of a riotous 
young nobility, whose misconduct offered such a large crop 
of scandalous and clamatory cases. It is not surprising that 
the people should have been impressed with the power of 
the tribunal when they suddenly saw now a Doge, now a 



member of some dominating house, struck down, and knew 
that it was the arm of tlie Ten which had reached 

With the closing of the Great Council, and thanks to its 
corollary the creation of the Ten, Venice, as we have said, 
reached her full constitutional maturity. She was no longer 
a child ; she had achieved, in the long process of some six 
hundred years, that singular political machinery which 
distinguished her from all other European states. Slight 
modifications took place, trifling additions were made, it is 
true, but the form of the constitution was fixed. That 
being the case, we can now present a succinct view of that 
system of government which was to carry the Republic 
through the most brilliant part of her career. 

By the Serrata del Maggior Conslglio, which wa'^ essen- 
tially a reform of the electorate induced by tlie growth 
of the Venetian population and the consequent differentia- 
tion in wealth and influence, the Great Council became the 
aole basis of the Venetian constitution ; it contained the 
whole body politic ; those wlio were outside the Council 
were politically non-existent. At first the Maggior Consiglio 
l^ssessed legislative and even judicial powers, but these 
Wei* gradually delegated — a process which was rendered 
faievitable by the size of the Council itself, until that body 

left with election to office as its chief function. In the 
Great Council, and from among its members, almost all the 
great ofBcers of State were chosen. 

Immediately above the Great Council came tlie Senate 
wiiDposed of 160 members, besides those who— like the 
Doge, his councillors, the chiefs of the Supreme Court — sat 
cr officio. The Senate was the principal legislative body in 
Qie constitution ; and it also discharged the function of direct- 
ing the foreign affairs of the Republic In the Senate ambas- 
sadors were elected, and to the Senate they addressed their 
despatches and read their reports, on their return home from 
their diplomatic missions. 

On a level with the Senate, but extraneous to the main 

i of tlie constitution, an episode, a break in the pyramidal 

1 of original structure, came the Council of Ten, with the 


powers which we have just explained. The Ten was called 
into existence by a sudden and pressing need, and 
it retained the marks of its origin all through its 
liistory ; it was never an integral part of the scheme of the 
Venetian constitution. Owing to its smaller size, its rapidity, 
its secrecy, this Council gradually usurped the place of the 
Senate on all urgent occasions. An order of the Ten was 
as binding as a law, and the terror of the Ten ensured 
the punctual observance of its commands. Ambassadors 
reported separately to the Bitci^ and received from them secret 
instructions, which were sometimes in contradiction to the 
public instructions of the Senate. They always knew which 
to obey. As we have seen, the Ten possessed judicial 
functions ; in short, its capacity as a committee of public 
safety left no department of government in which its 
authority would have been disowned. 

Above both Senate and Ten came the CoUegio or Cabinet, 
composed of the Sami or Sages ; the six Savii ffrandi, the 
Savii da terra fcrma, the Savii agli ordini or du mar, the 
responsible ministers of the State, the secretaries, as we 
should say, of war, marine, finance. It was the duty of the 
Savii ymndi to prepare all public business, and to present 
it to the Senate or to the Great Council as the case might 
be. The six Sacii grandi undertook their functions in 
turn, one each week. The whole affairs of Venice passed 
through the hands of the Cabinet, in which the Savio grandc 
for the week was, as it were, the prime minister of the 
Eepublic, and it was in its competence to choose the 
assembly which should dispose of the business. The College 
could send a subject to the Senate or to the Ten. If the 
matter were urgent, requiring secrecy and rapidity, it natur- 
ally chose the Dirci, wliicli had been framed especially to 
meet such emergencies ; and thus all the more striking and 
picturesque episodes in Venetian history came into the 
hands of that tribunal. But the College was not merely 
tlie initiatory body in the State; it possessed also executive 
powers, and was charged to give effect to the deliberations of 
the Magf/wr Consiglio or the Senate ; the Ten, in the person 
of its three chiefs, possessed an executive of its own. 


Above the College came the six ducal councillors, in- 
timately connected with the chief of the State ; 
where he went they went; they opened his cor- 
respondence ; a quorum of the ducal councillors was equi- 
valent to the Doge ; they represented the attributes of the 
Doge, as it were, in commission. 

At the head of all came the Doge himself, represent- 
ing the majesty of Venice. His presence was necessary 
everywhere: he presided in the Great Coimcil, in the 
Senate, in the Ten, in the College. His pomp was splendid, 
his power limited ; he appears as a symbol rather than as a 
factor in the constitution, the outward and visible sign of 
the impersonal oligarchy. 

Such in brief was the constitution which Venice de- 
veloped for herself, and relying upon which she proceeded to 
take her place as a fuU-grown community among the other 
States of Europe. 


Death of the Doge — Venice desires to expand — The Powers which opposed 
this desire — Genoa, the Italian Signori, the Turks — Advantages of the 
Republic — No mainland frontier — Marin Zorzi^ Doge — Oiovanni Soranso, 
Doge — Mercenary troops for the reduction of Zara — Dalmasins de Banoli, 
liis treachery — Removal of the interdict — ^The d'Este family in Ferrari— 
Venetian trade — The trade circle — Venetian industries— Silk — Glast— 
Population of Venice — Prosperity of Venice — Franeeaeo Danddo, Doge 
— The Ottoman Turks in Europe — The Signori on the mainland— The 
Carraresi in Padua — The Scaligeri of Verona — They clash over Vicena 
— Defeat of Carrara — Scala in Treviso — Venice and Scala — A war of 
tariffs — Weak position of Venice with no food supply — War with Scala : 
its importance — Objections to the war — Offers of help — League againat 
the Scaligeri— MarsUio Carrara, Scala's emissary to Venice — His treachery 
— Padua captured— Defeat of Scala — Venetian territory on the mainland 
— Meaning and importance of this — Venetian treatment of her aoqoisi- 
tions — The statute of Treviso — Bartolomeo OradenigOf Doge — Venetian 
prosperity reflected in the city buildings — Sumptuary laws — Andrea 
DandolOf Doge — League against the Turk — Great Plague — Quarrel with 
Genoa — The Crimea — War — Capture of Negropont by Doria — Nicolo 
Pisani and Paganino Doria — Defeat of Venice — Battle of Cagliari — 
Venetian victory — Genoa places herself under Visconti — Visconti and 
Venice — League against Visconti — Petrarch in Venice — War with Genoa 
renewed — Paganino Doria in Istria — Defences of Venice — Death of the 
Doge — Marin Falier, Doge — ^Truce with Genoa — War again — Battle of 
Sapienza — Defeat of Venice — Falier's character — Meaning of hia con- 
spiracy : its failure — Execution of the Doge. 

Gradenigo died in 1311. He was buried without pomp, 
and with little show of mourning on the part of the 
people. The interdict forbade the Church to bestow 
upon him the usual honours, while the disastrous results of 
his reign robbed him of any regard in the eyes of the masses. 
To all outward appearance the Eepublic was in a perilous 
position ; Bajamonte Tiepolo continued to be a danger, owing 


I to the help which he could reckon upon finding in Padua and 
Treviso, both jealous of their lagoon neighbour ; the 
Ferrarese war had entailed au int-erdict and a serious 
[ check to Veaetian commerce ; Zara, with the Dalmatian 
I coast, was in open revolt. But beneath this external 
I appearance of weakness there was a solid core of strength. 
I The Eepuhlic had achieved her constitution — she knew 
I her own mind; she was a full-grown State, and intended 
I to expand. 

As we have already seen, the triumph of the new aria- 

I tocracy was coincident with the declaration of a pohcy by 

F the victorious party ; Grudenigo'a speech in defence of the 

Ferrarese war displayed the militant and aggressive spirit of 

the dominant oligarchy. Venice resolved to extend her 

dominion wherever she found occasion. Such a resolve was 

B the inevitable result of her steadily growing influence, of her 

Hslowly accumulated riches. But this policy inevitably led 

B^r into collision with rival powera. Those powers can be 

BeBsily distinguished into three groups. In the Levant, 

Hlirhile pursuing an extended Eastern commerce, Venice was 

Kdeetined to come into flnal collision with the maritime state 

of Genoa. On the mainland, following the line already 

indicated in the war of Ferrara, the Republic found herself 

opposed to the various families, Carrara, Scala, Visconti, which 

Kltad made themselves loi-ds of some portion of Nor.tb Italy ; 

utiy, the appearance of the Ottoman Turks in Europe gave 

■he first warning that a foe more powerful, more deadly, 

1 either of the others, had arrived on the scene — a foe for 

iiose presence Venice had made herself largely responsible by 

: diversion of the fourth Crusade, and by the overthrow 

f the Eastern Empire. 

To assist the Eepublic in the coming struggle with these 
rpowers, the history of which must occupy our attention for 
some time, Venice possessed two great advantages — she was 
wealthy, and she had no mainland frontier. The first of these 
advantages served her in good stead against all the mainland 
lords and also against Genoa ; the second — the absence of a 
mainland frontier — she, by the very nature of the case, by 
r determination to extend on the mainland, was about to 



destroy. How this came about shall be explained in the 
following chapters. 

Marin Zorzi succeeded Pietro Gradenigo on 
the ducal throne. His brief reign of only ten months was 
chiefly occupied by the efforts of Venice to reduce Zara 
and the coast of Dalmatia, which had risen in revolt when 
the Republic fell under the interdict. The legacy of 
this enterprise, which was far from successful, Zorzi left 
to his successor Giovanni Soranzo, in whose reign we 
shall have to note a great recovery of tone, of 
force, of influence, on the part of the Republic, due 
no doubt to the inherent strength she had acquired by the 
consolidation of her new Constitution. 

The war with Zara was moving slowly and unfavourably 
for Venice, when the Republic determined to employ mer- 
cenary arms for the reduction of the city. The episode is of 
importance, for the conduct of the mercenary captain, Dal- 
masius de Banoli, instantly showed to the Venetians the 
danger which was inherent in the nature of such troops, and 
served as a lesson for the guidance of their future conduct. 
The government sent De Banoli to the siege of Zara. He 
I)ressed the city hard ; but the Dalmatians were supported 
by the Ban of Croatia, and offered a stout resistanca Mean- 
time Dalmasius had quarrelled with the representatives of the 
Republic in his camp. He wished to be entrusted with all 
the money for the payment of the troops ; the Venetians natur- 
ally suspected such a mercenary request, and refused. The 
Ban was anxious to return home. He offered terms to the 
Venetians, which were rejected. He then began to treat 
secretly with Dalmasius, whom he found quite open to a 
bribe. The adventurer promised to occupy the city of Zara 
on behalf of the Zaratines and against the Republic 
The plot was betrayed by a soldier, and the Venetian 
agents in camp were able to frustrate the scheme. Zara 
made a surrender to Venice, and promised to elect every 
second year a governor from among the Venetian Patriciate. 

Other successes illustrated the reign of Soranzo. The 
interdict, inflicted by the Pope as a punishment for the 
Ferrarese war, was removed after the payment of 100,000 



floritis; and Venice recovered all her rights and privi- 
leges in Ferrara, where shortly afterwards (1317) 
the Este family was recalled hy a popular rising 
the mercenary leader Dalmasius, who held 
the city for King Robert of Naples. The Eepublic re- 
newed her commercial treaties with the Eates, and when 
they received the papal Vicariate of FeiTara in 1331, 
Venice enrolled them among her patrician families. Other 
commercial treaties with Italian cities, with Milan, with 
Bologna, with Brescia, with Como, prove the recuperative 
power which Venice possessed, and distinguish the last 
eleven years of Soranzo's Dogeship. Nor was foreign trade 
less active or less lucrative. Venetian merchants sailed 
for London with cargoes of sugar, which they sold, and 
bought woo! ; this they took to Flanders, whence they 
returned to Venice carrying cargoes of cloth in webs, which 
they distributed down the Dalmatian coast and in the Levant, 
where they went to fetch new cargoes for the London 
market. The commercial circle was complete ; the whole 
profits of exchange were in the hands of Venice, and she 
was not slow to feel the effects of her rapidly-rising revenue. 
Nor did traffic alone prove the sole source of growing 
■wealth to Venice. Indiistries also took root in the city. 
Fugitives from Lucca introduced the silk trade, and 
occupied a whole quarter near the Carapo S. Bartolomeo, at 
the foot of the Eialto. The glass-manufacture of Murano 
received an impetus ; looking-glasses became a well-known 
product of the city in the lagoons. 

There are abundant proofs that Venice occupied a high 
position in the eyes of foreign princes. The Emperor 
Frederick notified his victory at Muhldorf to the Doge in 
1320; he granted redress for injury inflicted on a 
Venetian merchant ; Alfonso of Sicily tendered an apology 
Lior a similar insult to Venetian traders. Edward III. 
I of England asked for Venetian galleys to help him in 
war with Philip of France ; he offered the Venetians 
most extensive privileges, and invited the Doge to 
■ two of his sons to the English Court The 
ipnlation of Venice rose rapidly — it was estimated at 


200,000 inhabitants; houses and building -ground were 
in such demand that a scheme for filling in the 
lagoon between the fondameifUe nv/yoe and Murano, 
and for adding the seat of the glass trade to the city 
of Venice, occupied the serious attention of the Govern- 
ment. The Eepublic increased the Doge's salary ; a jewel 
for him to wear on solemn occasions was purchased at the 
price of 1500 sequins; the Bucentaur, or State barge, 
was refitted for his use; his household was augmented 
in servants and furnished with silver plate, and other 

Everything breathed an air of wellbeing during the 
second and third decades of this century. The Eepublic, 
feeling the self-confidence inspired by its new constitution 
and the discovery of its natural direction, seemed advancing 
along the road of prosperity with strides more rapid than 
it had ever taken before. But there were indications of 
two dangers which threatened the growing State; 
one distant and remote, a danger which only 
developed later in Venetian history, the other near and 
imminent. The Ottoman Turks appeared for the first time 
in Europe, thereby presaging that long struggle which Venice 
was doomed to carry on single-handed till her whole re- 
sources were drained, and she was left to dwindle and pine 
away, the mere dry shell of her ancient self. But nearer at 
home, and of more pressing importance, were the struggles 
between those despots of Padua, Verona, and Milan, with 
whom Venice was destined to collide in carrying out her 
policy of a mainland empira With such an object in view 
it was impossible for the Eepublic to be indififerent to what 
was taking place in cities so close to herself as Padua and 
Treviso, and to a consideration of this we must now turn 
our attention. 

After the downfall of Eccelino da Eomano, Padua had 
established, preserved, and strengthened her independent 
municipal government. Her university brought her fame ; 
her commerce poured in wealth ; she showed signs of that 
inevitable instinct to expand which seems at that time to 
have animated every city in Italy. She became mistress 


of Viceoza, increasing her power aa she supposed, but in 
reality making herself conterminous with the Scalas 
of Verona, and thereby initiating the long series oi' 
events which eventually made her a dej)endant of her rival 
in the lagoons. I'arty faction, from which no Italian main- 
land city could free itself, began to tear the commune of 
Padua. The popular party was victorious, and elected as 
its leader Jacopo Carrara, the man who had most largely 
contributed to its victory. But beyond the Tic en tine 
frontier of Paduan territory the , great house of Scala 
was rising into power, and obeying, contemporaneously, 
the universal instinct towards expansion. The Scalas had 
absorbed the territories of the Counts of San Bonifazio ; 
they had fortified Soave and were now on the very 
borders of the Vicentino, Belonging to the Ghibelline 
faction, and drawing their authority, nominally at least, 
from the Emperor, they were no friends to the Guelph and 
popular government which had just been established in 
Padua. At their instigation and with their aid Vicenza 
revolted, and freed itself from Paduan domination only to 
become a part of the Scala territory, which still remained 
conterminous with the territories of the C'arraresi. Jacopo 
Carrara made terms with Can Grande della Scala, and was 
allowed to retain possession of his native city. But 
thia arrangement did not last long, Marsilio Carrara 
succeeded his uncle, Jacopo, as ruler in Padua. The Scalas 
claimed Padua, besieged it, and compelled Marsilio to yield 
it to them, on condition, however, that he shoiild remain there 
as governor on their behalf. The career of the Scalas did 
not, could not, terminate here; they continued to spread — 
occupying Feltre, Belluno, and the base of the Alps, and 
thereby rendering themselves masters of the passes. Treviso 
also fell into their hands in 1329. The attention of Venice 
was inevitably directed to the growth of this power 
whose advance threatened to draw a circle round the 
borders of the lagoon, and to close all exits for Venetian 
merchandise. The capture of Treviso, however, was the 
lust operation of the great Can Grande. He died, and his 
dominions passed to his nephews, Alberto and Kfaatino della 



Scala. Alberto was a man of pleasure, but Mastino 
inherited all the pride and ambition of his house. 
Venice soon became aware that she was face to 
face with a rival whom she must either crush or be 
ruined. Mastino began his career by imposing new dues 
on all Venetian goods passing through the Trevisan 
marches or the Padovano, and erected a toll-house on 
the Po. The Venetian Government replied with a pro- 
hibitive duty on all Paduan and Trevisan merchandise. 
A war of tariffs ensued. But Venice could not sustain such 
a war for long. She was built on islands, without any 
stretch of cultivated land to feed her rapidly-increasing 
population. Her natural position rendered her unable tx) 
support herself if the food supply from the mainland 
should be cut off, or if she were suffering from a check 
at sea such as the battle of Curzola had inflicted. That 
Padua and Treviso should cease to receive goods imported 
from the East through Venice was as nothing compared 
with the danger to the lagoon city when deprived of com 
and meat from Padua and Treviso. The war of tariflfs 
and of diplomatic correspondence continued for a short 
time; but Mastino della Scala knew the power of his 
position, and showed that he appreciated it when he 
said, " Tell the Doge to keep his leaden seals ; he will want 
them all to roof the Campanile." Venice, in fact, was face 
to face with her most serious danger, the perils of a blockade! 
Her policy of aggression on the mainland, at least in its 
origin, may have been partly dictated by ambition, but it 
was none the less a policy of necessity, an absolute con- 
dition of safety for the Republic. 

War was the only course open to the Venetians. The 
moment proved one of vital importance in their history. It 
is tnie that she had shown a desire, and had made an effort 
to expand on terra ferma at the time of the Ferrarese war ; 
but this struggle with Scala, Lord of Verona, Vicenza, 
Brescia, Treviso, Feltre, Belluno, and Padua, would most un- 
doubtedly prove a far more serious undertaking. If Venice 
were defeated, she jeopardised her existence ; if victorious, 
she sacrificed one of her chief advantages, the absence of a 


mainland frontier to protect. The decision aa to the war 
with the Scaligers is really a turning-point in Vene- 
tian history, not the less momentous because the 
issue of the debate was a foregone conclusion. 

The Doge and many of the older members of the 
Government were opposed to war. They pointed out that 
Venice had no land aimy ; that she would he forced to 
employ mercenaries ; that it was a false policy which led 
the Eepublic to interfere in the affairs of the mainland. 
To this the reply was oidy too easy ; it might be a danger- 
ous policy, but there was no choice ; starvation threatened 
the city ; the ncctseitaa hladi, the want of corn, could 
not be gainsaid. Venice dared not allow the Scaligers 
to become more powerful on the mainland ; and as to 
the want of a land army, the jealousy and alarm of 
other north Italian States would help to supply that 
deficiency. Events proved this argument to be a sound 
one. War was declared. The population of Venice be- 
tween the ages of twenty and sixty enrolled itself with 
enthusiasm, and produced a force of 40,000 men. The 
news that Venice had declared war on the Scalas in-stantly 
brought offers of assistance from all those who had suffered, 
or who expected to suiTer, at the hands of the Veronese 
despots. The Florentines and the Itossi of Parma, whose 
youngest member, Pietro, was considered the most expert 
captain of his day, played a prominent part in the coalition. 
The first successes of the Venetian forces under Pietro de 
Rossi soon induced any waverers to join the confederation ; 
B&d a league " for the destruction and the ruin of the 
brothers Alberto and Mastino della Scala " was the result. 

The league was a powerful one. The army consisted of 
30,000 horse and a proportionate number of foot. Venice 
paid one third, Florence a third, and the other members of 
itbe confederation a third. Florence stipulated to receive 
■cca aa her share. The other cities, when recovered from 
'tiie Scalas, were to be restored to full liberty, So potent 
.liid this combination prove, that Mastino found himself 
compelled to negotiate for a peace. He chose his emissary 
[V)th impmdence singular in a prince of so much ability. 


He sent Marsilio Carrara, from whom his family had robbed 
Padua, as his ambassador, to treat with the Senate. 
Marsilio began to sound the Doge on his own ac- 
count with a view to recovering his independent position in 
Padua. It is said that one evening, while supping witli 
Dandolo, he dropped his napkin ; both stooped to pick it 
up. " What would you give to the man who put you in 
posaeasion of Padua ? " whispered Marsilio, " The lordship 
of the city," replied the Doga When the two heads rose 
above the table again the Carraresi and the Republio had 
made their pact, which was presently to bear importODt 
consequences for both parties. 

Mastino, meanwhile, had broken off negotiations and 
resumed the war. But the league was too powerful and 
too ubiquitous. Visconti's attack on Brescia called him 
away from the defence of Padua. In liis absence 
Marsilio Carrara fulSUed his part of the secret under- 
standing with the Doge. On 3rd August 1337 
Pietro de Kossi was admitted into Padua by 
treachery. He captured Alberto della Scala and sent him 
as a prisoner to Venice. The city was taken over in the 
name of the Kepublic, and the lordship of it at onc« 
conferred on Marsilio Carrara. 

The end of the Scala dominion had arrived. The fall of ' 
Padua was followed by the loss of Brescia and Bei^anio, 
seized by Visconti ; of Feltre and Belluno, which returned 
to Charles of Bohemia. Mastino found himself driven to 
seek a peace which was concluded in 1^38. 

By the terras then stipulated, Treviso, Caatelbaldo. and 
Bassauo passed into the hands of Venice. The subjects o( 
Scala in those territories were to be allowed to enjoy their 
possessions undisturbed. The passage of the Po was 
rendered free of dues ; the Scalas paid a sum in indemnity 
for damages wrought by the war. 

The dismemberment of the Scala dominion left Venice 
in this position: she had acquired a quasi-suzerainty over 
Padua, whose lords, the Carraresi, had accepted a sort of 
investiture from the Republic, The Carraresi really de- 
pended for their existence upon the support of Venice ; for 

Biihough the Scala of Verona were crushed, a still more 
H powerful lord, Visconti of Milaii, was rising into 

H ■'^ ' greater eminence on the ruiiis of the Scaligera. 

■ Venice interposed this qua,?i-dependent Padua between herself 

■ and the Lord of Milan ; but any attack on the Carraresi was 
W a threat to Venice, and iii fact, if not in appearance, the 

Republic found to her cost that she had become conterminous 
with the ViscontL But besides this indirect lordship over 
Padua, Venice also acquired a direct sovereignty over Treviso 

I and its district, which included Conegliano, Oderzo, and 
Cast«l franco.. She secured an extensive corn-growing district, 
and was sure of a meat supply ; she need no longer dread 
a blockade and starvation into surrender after every defeat 
■he suffered upon the sea. On the other hand, however, she 
now possessed a mainland frontier, conterminous on one side 
%ith her aUies the Carraresi, and therefore not a danger 
as long as they could maintain themselves against the 
"Visconti, but this frontier rendered Venice, towards the east, 
obnoxious to the Patriai-ch of Aquileia and the feudal Counts 
of Gorizia. The Eepublic was well satisfied with the issue of 
this war against the Scalas ; she felt the joy of her growth. 
■he publication of the treaty of peace waa celebrated by a 
lurney on the Piazza of S. Mark, and the day became a 
lational festival. 

It is important for us to examine the way in which 
dealt with her new possession, Treviso ; for the 
Tinethod then adopted is typical of the attitude of the ruling 
city towards the many land dependencies which she sub- 
sequently acquired ; and the wisdom of that method bore 
abundant fruit for the Eepubhc after the disastrous wars of 
the Le^ue of Cambray. The policy of the Republic 
consisted in leaving as much of local government and of 
existing institutions as was compatible with the protection 

tot the city from attack and the maintenance of her own 
jlopremacy. Her representatives in each dependent city were 
a civil and a military official with their respective staffs. 
The civil officer bore the title of Rector, and was superior to 
the Captain, the miUtaty officer. For the rest, the city waa 
^allowed to govern itself by means of its Municipal Council, 



which attended to such affairs as lighting, roads, local 
taxation. The police, however, remained in the 
hands of the Eector, who was in constant com- 
munication with the Senate and, in graver emergencies, 
with the Council of Ten. At the head of the muni- 
cipal government, but subject to the Rector, was the 
Podestk, who might be a native of the city, or, as was 
frequently the case, a Venetian nobleman, or even the 
Rector himself. The Statuto of Treviso provided that, three 
months before the expiration of his term of ofl&ce, the 
Podesti should summon a meeting of the Council of 300, 
and proceed to the election of eight members, four nobles 
and four commoners, whose duty it was to nominate twelve, 
six nobles and six commoners, who again elected four 
nobles and four commoners, who should name three candi- 
dates for the Podestate, from among whom the Council 
were to choose their Podesti by ballot. It is clear that this 
elaborate method of appointment was a reflex of the system 
pursued in the election of the Doge ; and as a matter of 
fact the Podest^ of any city dependent upon Venice stood in a 
position analogous to that of the Doge ; he enjoyed a similar 
apparatus of pomp concealing a stringent code of restric- 
tions; he seemed to govern, but the Rector was his real 
master, as the Ten was master of the Doge. The Statuto of 
Treviso, after providing for the ofl&ce of Podest^ proceeds to 
deal with questions of octroi, of fortification, of lighting, of 
roads and bridges, of wells, of fires, of sanitary matters, of 
the guilds of artisans, of wet nurses ; in short, of all the 
multifarious details of municipal, and even of private, life. 
Good government, peace, encouragement of trade, comfort of 
living, are its chief objects ; and it is not surprising that the 
inhabitants of a city imder Venetian sway should have 
found themselves secure and contented, when they com- 
pared their lot with that of a citizen under the rule of an 
individual despot such as a Scala or a ViscontL 

The reign of Francesco Dandolo closed in success and 
splendour for Venice. The reflex of this extension, 
of this increase in power and in wealth, made itself ^* 
apparent in the reign of his successor, Bartolomeo Gradenigo. 


E It was a aliort reign, but the new position of Venice received 

sufficient demonstration, botli from outside and from 

within. We have already referred to the appeal 

[.for help which reached Venice from Edward III. of Eng- 

I land. In the East, with John Paleologus, too, she renewed 

I her commercial treaties, though the steady advance of the 

Turks rendered such privileges of less and less value, except 

i giving some colour of legality to Venetian pretensions 

against the Genoese, with whom the Republic was in 

constant and increasing rivalry for the possession of the 

Eastern traffic — a rivalry destined shortly to bum up into 

a furious flame of war. 

Public buildings also marked the growing prosperity of 
the State. Granaries were built along the site of the present 
gardens, in which the Government, warned by the 
femines of the previous reign, and the risks of a blockade, 
istored corn for use in emergencies. A new Saia del Mar/ffwr 
Consiglio was decreed ; the Church of the Servite monks, the 
■Church of Paolo Sarpi that was to be, rose with its beautiful 
facade of striped marbles, Excessive luxury in private life 
^produced the earliest examples of sumptuary laws in Venice. 
iJEverywhere the prosperity of the Republic made itself 
.manifest. But the reign of the next Doge, Andrea Dandolo, 
3 to see Venice plunged once more into another phase of 
her life-and-death stru^le with her implacable rival Genoa, 
struck down by the terrible scourge of the Black 

The success of the league against Verona, and the collapse 
and dismemberment of the Scala dominions, left 
the plain of North Italy quiet for a time. Matters 
aettled down under the new order introduced by the Peace 
1339. P.ut Venice was not to enjoy this tranquillity. 
The affairs of the East instantly claimed the attention of 
the Doge Dandolo, He had no sooner come to the throne 
than the Pope called on him to take part in the first 
European league against the Turk ; and although the league 
did not engage in any operations worthy of note, yet the 
■pvent is s^nificant in the history of the Republic, for she 
i DOW for the first time brought face to face with the 


most deadly foe she ever encountered in the whole course 
of her career. The league ended, as was usual 
with Venice, in a business transaction between the 
Pope and the Republic by which, on condition of being 
allowed to draw the ecclesiastical tithes for three years, 
the Government undertook to protect all Christians against 
the Turks at sea. 

In the year 1348 Italy was attacked by the great 
Plague. Venice hoped to escape infection by 
drawing a cordon round the lagoons. Three com- * 

missioners were appointed to take the necessary steps. 
But the quarantine proved ineffectual; the Plague broke 
out in the city in the spring of the year, and its fierceness 
increased as the summer heats grew intenser. A commis- 
sion of five was appointed. The existing cemeteries were 
insufficient to contain the dead, who were sent to San 
Giorgio in Alega, to San Marco in Bochalama, to San Lunardo 
de Fossamala, even as far out as Sant' Erasmo. The mortahtv 
increased so rapidly that the corpses often remained unburied 
in the houses. The Government found itself obliged to 
undertake the collection of the dead in each scMiere of the 
city. As the lugubrious death-boats, with their ghastly 
burden, passed down the small canals, the boatmen cried 
" Corpi Morti ! Corpi Morti ! " and in reply the survivors 
shot the corpses from doors and windows down upon the 
loathly pile. The bodies were hastily interred in large 
open graves, and barely sprinkled over with earth. Doctors 
were invited from other parts of Italy. But no precautions 
proved of any avail The pestilence ran its course ; and 
when it left the city the Venetians found that fifty noble 
families had been completely wiped out, and that three- 
fifths of the entire population had perished. 

The blow was a severe one, and all the more serious that 
the Eepublic was on the point of embarking upon a 
struggle with Genoa, in which she required every available 
citizen and an exchequer full to overflowing. The fur 
trade of the Crimea had for long been a bone of contention 
between Venice and lier western rival. The city of Kafia, 
which was really formed by the factories of the two 



States, became the scene of constant brawls between 
Genoese and Venetiau merchants. The final rup- 
ture was delayed by an attack made by the Taitar 
tribes upon Venetians and Genoese alike ; the losses in 
men and goods which both suffered induced them to 
act in concert ; and by the term.? of a treaty signed 
ill 1345 a Venetian bailo and a Genoese consul governed 
the city of Kaffa between them, establisliing the tariff of 
market prices, the rent of houses, etc. ; and furthermore, by 
mutual agreement, any trafBc with the hostile Tartar tribes 
was forbidden. But both Venetians and Genoese were iu 
the Crimea on purpose to trade with the Tartars ; it was 
impossible that such a prohibition should be loyally observed. 
Both parties began a contraband tr.tffic. It would seem that 
the Genoese were the chief gainers by this illicit commerce ; 
at least the first complaint came from Venice, which would 
not have been the case if Venetian trade had been flourish- 
ing. The Doge sent an embassy to Genoa to protest. The 
reply was haughty in tone ; by it the Genoese gave the 
Venetians to understand that their presence in Trebisond 
and the Black Sea at all was only permitted on sufl'erance, 
and by the courtesy of Genoa. War seemed on the point of 
breaking out when the violence of the Plague cooled the 
passions of the rivals by a common purge. 

As the terror of the Plague died away, the Genoese, 
under their Doge, Giovanni de Valente, renewed 
their hostile attitude towards Venetians iu the Black 
SetL Several Venetian ships were seized at Kaffa ; all 
efforts to obtain redress in Genoa proved unavaihng, and 
Venice was compelled to declare war. The government raised 
a loan and sent a fleet of twenty-nine galleys, under the com- 
mand of Marco Ruzzini, to the Levant. The war opened with 
a series of naval operations which were not of the highest 
importance except as clearing. the way for the appearance of 
the great Venetian commander, Nicolo Piaani, upon the scene. 
Jtuzzini began by making a prize of ten Genoese merchant- 
men which fell into his hands at Negropont. Four escaped 
and sought safety with Filippo Doria, the Genoese admiral 
ia those waters. Doria, byway of reprisals, effected a sudden 



descent on Negropont, and captured the city, Viario, its 
governor, waa tried and acquitted ; Rnzzini, who lay 
under the charge of having been dilatory in sailing 
to the support of the city, lost his command. 

The struggle to which Venice found herself now seri- 
ously committed was insane and fratricidal. Petrarch, 
with poetic prevision, foretold the mischance which must 
befall Italy from the internecine hatred of its two great 
maritime States, " Necease est ut alteram e duobus Italiae 
luminibua extingiietur, obscuretur alterum." But the iu- 
stinct of a growing race for expansion, for aggrandisement, 
rendered Venice deaf to the poet's prophecy o£ woe. The 
Itepublic gauged the severity of the coming straggle, and 
desired, if possible, to find support among foreign powers. 
Peter of Aragon was not unwilling to join the Venetians 
in the hope of reducing Genoese influence in the Western 
Mediterranean, where his interests lay. He bound himself 
to furnish eighteen galleys, while Venice bore two-thirds of 
their expense. This combination, which had important 
bearings on the issue of the war, exposed Genoa to an 
attack in her rear. 

In the campaigTi of 1351 we find two great leaders. 
Nicolo Pisani and Paganino Doria, measuring their arms, 
making estimate one of the other, previous to joining battle. 
IHsani opened with a futile effort to capture Pera, the Genoese 
quarter of Constantinople. He was forced to abandon his 
operations in order to sail to the relief of Negropont, and, after 
some inconsequent mauteuvres, both fleets retired to winter 
quarters. In the following campaign the Aragonese aud 
Venetian fleet again made for Constantinople, intendiu*; 
to attack I'aganino Doria under the walls of Pera, Paganino 
awaited their coming, and succeeded in drawing them on till 
he had them in a position so narrow that they were unable 
to develop their line, Pisani was opposed to the wliole 
manceuvre, and wished to avoid a battle ; but he was over- 
ruled by Ponzio de Santa Paola, commander of the Art^nese, 
who gave the order to cut the cables and bear down on the 
Genoese. It was late in the afternoon when the attack was 
given, and night came on before the battle ceased; but I 


Genoese and Venetians — for the Aragonese and the Greeks fled 
at the very outset — fought desperately by the light 
of their owd burning ships, whose Hamea were fanned 
by a violent wind. The gale threw the fleet into confusion ; 
it became impossible to distinguish friend from foe ; Catalan 
sank Catalan, Venetian Venetian, Genoese Genoese, says an 
eye-witness. At last the Venetians were forced to yield. 
But in the darkness of the night the combatants were 
unable to estimate the relative losses on the one side and 
the other. It was certain that both had suffered 
ely. In the morning Paganino Doria sent to ask the 
reoetian commander how many Cienoese prisoners he held ; 
the niunber sent back in answer seemed so small, and so 
many were missing from Paganino's ships' rolls, that he 
estimated his own losses very high. 

The battle of the Eosphonia was a heavy blow to both 
parties. Paganino endeavoured to conceal the amount 
of his loss from his compatriots in Pera. so as to avoid 
throwing them into a panic. I'isani despatched a messenger 
to Venice to beg that the subsidy should be at once paid to 
the Catalans, to prevent them from deserting him, and to 
induce them to order a new fleet to take the sea, and thus 
to create a diversion in Genoese waters. The Catalans con- 
sented, and their admiral, Cabrera, sailed to attack Sardinia, a 
Genoese possession. The news of these movements brought 
out the Genoese fleet under Antonio Grimaldi, whose orders 
were to protect Sardinia, and to prevent a junction between 
Cabrera and PisanL But Piaani had already effected this 
important oiieration, and was now in command of the united 
Catalan and Venetian fleet, waiting the coming of the Genoese 
in the waters of Cagliari. As Grimaldi's fleet hove in sight 
iPisani ran up the standard of S. Mark, to the astonishment 
<rf the tJenoese, who believed that they were facing the 
Catalan fleet alone. It was S. John's day in the month of 
August, seven months after the battle of the Bosphorus, that 
Venetians ^nd Genoese once more measured their strength. 
31u3 time the fortune of war was reversed. Pisani now 
lield the sole command, and he adopted tactics very different 
!rom those pursued in the previous battle. He was a great 


sailor, and loved abundant sea-room. He drew out into the 
open, followed by the Genoese fleet; then, facing 
round, he ran his ships alongside of one another, 
and lashed them together into one solid front, leaving ten 
galleys free to skirmish, and to draw the enemy towards his 
close formation. Both sides fought with great valour, and 
with greater hate. The Venetians began to board the 
enemy, but many fell into the sea from the decks, which 
were slippery with blood. At last, on first one and then 
another of the Genoese galleys, the ensign of S. Mark began 
to fly. The battle was really over ; the Genoese lost heart ; 
they threw themselves into the sea or hid in the holds of 
their ships. Grimaldi caused his own galley to be towed 
out of the thick of the fight, and fled towards Genoa ; for 
four hours more the Genoese fought desperately, and after 
losing thirty-three galleys out of fifty-one, they owned them- 
selves defeated. 

When Grimaldi's blood-stained vessel brought the news 
to (^»enoa, consternation filled the city. The people poured 
down to the mole, or climbed the hills behind the town, 
expecting each moment to descry on the south-west offing 
the sails of the victorious Venetian fleet But Pisani*8 
victory had not cost him little; he was in no condition 
to attack Genoa, and the Senate thus obtained a breathing 
space in which to deliberate upon the situation. The result 
of those deliberations altered the whole aspect of the war, and 
introduced a new and most important factor in the struggle 
between the two Eepublics. The Senate of Genoa made a 
voluntary surrender of the State to Giovanni Visconti, 
Bishop of Milan, on condition that he would furnish the 
means for continuing the war against Venice. 

It is interesting to note that Venice was first brought 
into contact with the Visconti, not as a result of her 
extension on the mainland, but owing to her naval war with 
Genoa. That she should clash with Visconti sooner or later 
was inevitable after her first step towards a land dominion ; 
but at present she had the Carraresi as an intermediate State 
between her mainland frontiers and those of the powerful 
rulers of Milan. The Genoese act of surrender proves, 


liowever, tliat Milan and Venice were the two dominant 

powers in North Italy, and a collision between them 

was only a matter of time. 

Venice was enraged and alarmed at this unexpected step 

[ on the part of her rival. She was prevented from crushing 

L her foe juat when she believed her final triumph to be 

I secure j and the possession of Cienoa rendered Visconti 

I for too potent not to arouse her fears. His aggrand- 

lisement was a threat to all North Italy. The Republic 

Ifound no difficulty in combining in a defensive league the 

I lemnants of the Scalas, the Canuresi of Padua, the lords of 

^'Ferrara and Mantua, and the King of Bohemia, Chai-les IV. 

Visconti temporised ; he followed the usual Viscontean policy 

of mystifying his oppouenta. His action led to one of the 

most interesting episodes which illustrate Venetian history, 

Petrarch, the laureate, went to Venice as his 

' ■ ambassador for the purpose of arranging a treaty. 

3i8 letter, addressed to the Doge, is a beautiful piece of 

Aetoric, in praise of peace ; to which the Doge replied in 

another epistle breathing the noblest sentiments. But at 

the arsenals of tienoa and of Venice a different answer was 

preparation. It was vain for Visconti to believe that 

he could effect a peace, even had he desired it, — which is 

^Btore than doubtful, — between these two implacable rivals, 

locked now in a deadly embrace. The Genoese took 

the aea first, and with only a few ships, made a sudden 

laid upon the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic. A squadron , 

6f Venetian ships was sent down the gulf to guard its 

mouth, while Nicolo Pisani, in command of fourteen galleys, 

Sailed for Sardinian waters to keep a watch upon the 

main body of the Genoese fleet under his old opponent. 

Paganino Doria, But Doria gave Pisani the slip ; and 

hefore the Venetians knew what had happened, they found 

haX, Paganino was master of Parenzo, on the Istrian 

wat, not sixty miles away from the Lido mouth of the 

joon. The alarm in Venice became intense. All the citizens 

rere enrolled, a new tax for shipbuilding levied, an iron 

ihain run across from San Nicolo del Lido to Sant' Andrea. 

At this crisis in the history of his country, twenty-two days 


after the sack of Parenzo, the Doge Andrea Dandolo died, 
and was succeeded by Marin FaKer, whose reign and 
name have gained an exaggerated importance from 
the tragic event which closed in violence his brief rule of 
nearly seven months. 

The Venetian defensive alliance against Visconti and 
Genoa had produced but little good; not much could be 
expected from mainland allies in a purely naval war. But 
the presence of Charles IV. in Italy induced Genoa to sign a 
truce with Venice. This proved to be merely a breathing 
space. It was quite certain that nothing but the utter defeat 
of one of the combatants could put an end to this internecine 
struggle. The truce was no sooner over than Nicolo Pisani 
and his famous nephew, Vettor, took the sea and went in 
search of Paganino Doria in the Grecian Archipelago. 
Doria declined battle when offered ; and Pisani, on instruc- 
tions from Venice, withdrew to winter quarters in Portolungo, 
opposite the island of Sapienza, at the extreme south-west 
point of Greece, not far from Navarino. 

While lying at Portolungo, Pisani was joined by four 
other vessels, which brought the number of his fleet up to 
thirty -five galleys and some twenty lighter craft The 
mouth of the harbour was entrusted to the care of Nicolo 
Querini with twenty galleys at his command. Meanwhile 
Paganino Doria, with thirty-six galleys, had also resolved to 
return to Genoa for the winter. The wind, however, was 
against him, and he was driven back to the shelter of some 
rocky islands near Sapienza. His nephew, Giovanni Doria, 
a young man of spirit, finding time heavy oh his hands, 
took a light trireme, and went to reconnoitre the Venetian 
position. He reported to his uncle that an attack on the 
Venetians was certain to be successful, for the guard at 
the harbour mouth had been quite relaxed. Paganino 
accordingly, on the 4th November 1354, gave orders to 
sail. He found the entrance to the port unprotected, sailed 
in, and took the whole Venetian fleet by surprise- Many 
of the crew jimiped into the sea ; Pisani himself escaped to 
land and sought refuge in Modon. Every vessel of the 
Venetian fleet was captured. 


Such a blow had never fallen on Venice before, and popular 
imagination collected round the battle of Sapienza 
a legend of portents which presaged the disaster. 
A flight of crows had settled on the ships and plucked each 
other to death among the shrouds ; huge fish had swallowed 
some sailors swimming from one ship to another, and the 
sea had been stained with their blood. The popular fury 
at Venice vented itself in depriving Pisani for ever of any 
command and fining him 1000 lire; Nicolo Querini, the 
more to blame, if be were not actually a traitor, was 
cashiered for sLv years, and fined 1000 ducats. 

The minous defeat of Sapienza was bad ; but Venice had 
not yet reached the end of her misfortunes. Marin FaUer, 
ambassador with the Papal Court in Avignon at the time 
of his election to the vacant Dukedom, made his solemn entry 
into Venice on 5th October 1354, In the light of sub- 
sequent events, the people interpreted as ominous the fact 
that the new Doge landed in a dense fog and passed between 
the columns of the Piazzetta, the place of executions, 

Falier belonged to one of tlie noblest families ia the 
Republic. He had filled many offices with vigour and ability. 
"Bis temper was violent and imperious. It is reported that, 
■while Podesti of Tre^iso, be had boxed the Bishop's ears in 
!jmblic for keeping him waiting in a procession. Whether 
the conspiracy which has rendered Falier's name conspicuous 
was the result of his own private ambition, his desire to 
make himself lord of Venice, as Visconti was lord of Milan, or 
■whether it merely signified the last protest of the older 
nobility and the people against the dominance of the new 
aristocracy, which had risen to power with the Scrrata, and 
been consolidated after the conspiracy of Tiepolo and the 
creation of the Ten, is by no means certaui. Petrarch, a 
icontemporary and a competent observer, who knew Marino 
intimately, says : " Causaa renim . . . explicare, si comperta 
loqui velim, ncqueo ; tam ambigue et tarn varie referuntur. 
^Blemo ilium excusat, omnes antem aiunt voluisse eum 
in statu Reipubljca; a majoribus tradito, nescio quid 
mutare." However that may be, in spite of its pictur- 
qoeness, and notwithstanding the romantic colour with 


which subsequent historians have indued it, the conspiracy 

of Marin Falier is of little importance in com- 

I ^i^d* 
parison with that of Tiepolo. Its chief interest lies 

in the proof which it furnishes that the Doge was impotent^ 

that the Council of Ten was the sovereign of the State. 

The facts as far as they can be ascertained appear to be 
these. At the festival of Maunday Thursday some young 
Venetian nobles permitted themselves to take a liberty with 
one of the Dogaressa's waiting- women, whereupon the Doge 
ordered them to be expelled from the reception-rooms. In 
revenge, as they passed the council chamber, it occurred to 
one of them to write upon the Doge's throne — Marin Falier 
ddla bella mujer, lu la inantien et altri la galde. The 
Doge soon saw the insulting inscription, and thought 
he recognised its origin. He applied for a heavy punish- 
ment against the culprits. If any punishment were inflicted, 
it appeared to the Doge to be quite inadequate to the 
enormity of this reflection on the ducal como, and he con- 
ceived a hatred of the powerful caste which sheltered its own 
members at the expense of the Doge's honour. Another 
instance of the same overbearing spirit on the part of the 
nobility roused against them the fury of the dock labourers. 
Marco Barbaro struck a certain Gisello, a dock hand, in the 
face upon some frivolous excuse. Gisello went to the Doge 
for redress ; but Falier, with the memory of his own un- 
avenged insult rankling in his mind, replied that he was 
powerless. Gisello said, " When one cannot bind a dangerous 
brute, one kills it." The phrase chimed in with Falier's mood. 
A compact was soon made between the Doge, Gisello, Filippo 
Calendario, Bertucci Israello, and spread rapidly throughout 
the whole body of the arsenal hands. The 15th of April 
was appointed as the day on which the nobles were to be 
slain, and Falier proclaimed prince of Venice. 

The secret had been so well kept that even the Council 
of Ten had no inkling of what was in preparation for the 15th 
of April. But now the affection of a certain Beltrame, a 
bergamasque leather merchant, for his friend and protector, 
Nicolo Lion, brought about the discovery of the plot and 
saved, no doubt, much useless bloodshed. Beltrame could not 


I endure the thought that Nicolo was to be alaJn while he 
could save him. On the evening of the 14tli 
Beltrame went to his friend and begged him witli 
[ Buch insistence not to leave his house on the morrow 
I that Lion, suspecting something of importance, pressed 
I his friend to tell him all. Beltrame did so, at least as 
I much as he knew ; for not even he was aware of the 
I Doge's impHcation in the plot. Lion went to Marin 
L Falter, and told him what he had learned. The Doge 
I feigned incredulity. This did not satisfy Lion, who made 
I a similar revelation to others, by whom the chiefs of the 
Ten were warned. The Council was summoned in haste 
at San Salvadore. On the information of Lion, the arrest of 
Calendario took place ; and on his confession the Ten dis- 
covered that the Doge was an accomplice The Ten adopted 
efficient measures, by numerous arrests and by increasing 
the guards, to obviate any danger, and the plot failed com- 
pletely. Ten of the conspirators were hung in a row from 
the windows of the ducal palace. The trial of the Doge 
occupied rather longer. His examination led to hia confession 
of guilt. He was condemned to be beheaded on Friday, 
17th April 1355. Execution followed that same evening. 
^alier was conducted first to the steps of the Sola, dd 
tfoffffior Consifflio, where he was deprived of his ducal cap ; 
Irom this staircase he was escorted to the landing-place at 
the top of the marble flight which led down to the courtyard 
of the palace, and one blow severed his bead from his body, 
which was buried without pomp at the chui-ch of San 
'Giovanni e I'aolo. 

Thus came to an end the last attempt to destroy from 
inside that rigid and powerful constiltution which culminated 
1 the estabhshment of the Council of Teu, whose members 
had just proved their supremacy by the annihilation of the 
i himself. 


The Venetian policy of extension in the Levant and on the mainland- 
Petrarch's view of the Genoese war — Giovanni OradenigOf Doge — Viaconti 
makes i)eace between Genoa and Venice — ^Venetian recapera^ve power- 
Difference between her and Genoa — Hungarians claim Dalmatia — Alliance 
between Hungary and the Carraresi — Hungarians in Friuli — Giovanni 
Dolfiiij Doge — Cari'ara declares for Himgary — Hungarians threaten the 
lagoon — Treasury exhausted — Income-tax — Venice is forced to come to 
terms — Surrenders Dalmatia — Lessons of the Hungarian war — Venice 
asks the Emperor to grant a title to its mainland territory : refused— 
Lorenzo Celsi, Doge — Visit of the Duke of Austria and of the King of 
Cyprus — Petrarch's library — Mysterious death of the Doge — Further 
curtailment of the ducal authority — Marco Corner^ Doge — Revolt of 
Crete — Claim of the Candiots to representation at Venice — The harbour 
tax — Revolt of the island— Dissension among the rebels — Collapse of the 
revolt — Rejoicings at Venice — Second revolt : cnished — Andrea London^ 
Doge — The approaching crisis, and the men who met it — Difficulties 
^vith Trieste : with Francesco Carrara — Plot to murder Venetian nobles 
— War declared — Hiingary assists Carrara— Capture of the Vaivode— 
Hungary ^vithdraws — Carrara alone against Venice — Makes peace — Genoa 
and Venice — Quarrel at the coronation of the King of Cyprus — A&irs of 
the Eastern Empire — John Paleologus in Venice — The island of Tenedos— 
The story of Andronicus — Genoa supports him in order to secure Tenedos 
— War — Carrara joins Genoa — Carlo Zeno and Vettor Pisani — Piaani's 
victory at Antium : his defeat at Pola — Venice in danger — Pisani ou 
trial — Defence of the lagoon — Capture of Chioggia — Desperation in 
Venice — Attempt to secure terms — Failure — Taddeo Giustinian and 
Vettor Pisani — Pisani liberated — Takes the command — Self-sacrifice of 
the Venetians — Chioggia besieged by Pisani — The strain of the siege— 
Zeno arrives — Storm — Supplies from the mainland cut off— Sortie — Fall 
of Chioggia — Triumph of Venice. 

In the last chapter we have seen the Eepublic embarking 
upon a new phase of her career, a policy of exten- 
sion on the mainland. In this she was merely 
carrying out a tendency which was introduced when the 

1354- , 


■new aristocracy came into power, and manifested itself for 
the first time in the war of Ferrara. Tlie present 
chapter will show how the pursuit of this policy 
complicated the difficulties of the Republic, and led her 
through a aeries of crushing losses to her final triumph 
over her rival Genoa. In the midst of the complica- 
tions and confusions of the years between 1355 and 1380 
the main events of Venetian history will be found to 
arrange themselves round the movement of this expansive 
policy, which Venice, not so much deliberately as in con- 
sequence of her own inherent vitality, waa compelled to 

The Republic was strong internally ; her constitution 
fully matured. The failure of FaUero's conspiracy had 
proved her solidity ; the obscure case of the Doge, Lorenzo 
Celsi, will demonstrate this solidity once more. But ex- 
ternally the aims of Venice were more vast than those of 
any other Italian State ; she was attempting extension in two 
directions — in the Levant for purely commercial purposes, 
and on the mainland of Italy partly through ambition, partly 
under the necessity of securing for herself a food-yielding 
district, which would free her from the dread of starvation 
^ter every defeat at sea. Her efforts to maintain and to 
:e3ttend herself in the Levant exposed her to two dangers, both 
of which win be illustrated in this chapter : on the one hand, 
lier own colonies showed a tendency to revolt and to 
separate from the mother-country, aa in the case of Crete ; 
on the other, her ancient rival Genoa was still unconquered, 
And had recently inflicted a crushing blow at Sapienza. 
yetrarch judged the situation rightly, pareva un sognatare 

fu profeta, when he wrote to the Doge, Andrea Dandolo, 
"latens bellum defuisse nunquam puto," and in the Genoese 
•war " it -is inevitable that one of Italy's eyes shall be 
quenched, the other clouded." 

Again, on the mainland, the new Trevisan frontier of 
Ihe Republic exposed her to attacks from Hungary and 
Aostria, with coucuiTent danger to Friuli, Trieste, and Dal- 
matia ; while the family of Carrara, creatures of Venice, 
dependent upon her for their existence, and placed by the 



liepublic as a bulwark between herself and the lords of 
Milan, were compelled by the nature of their posi- 
tion, by their desire to be independent, by their ^^ 
dread of being absorbed, to become the implacable and 
treacherous foes of their protector. Hitherto Venice had 
been engaged in a duel with Genoa; but her first step 
upon the mainland made combinations and coaUtions 
against her inevitable. And so we shall find that the 
Eepublic is now called upon to face Carrara, Hungarj', 
Austria, and Genoa, all banded together to destroy the 
powerful city of the lagoons. 

Giovanni Gradenigo, who succeeded Marin Falier in 
1355, came to the throne when the Eepublic was in 
a perilous position. The conspiracy and death of his 
predecessor had given a shock to the whole of Venice, which 
still smarted under the defeat of Sapienza and the loss of her 
entire fleet. But the war had been weighing hardly less 
heavily on her rival Genoa. Both Eepublics were prepared 
to sign a peace the terms of which were proposed by 
Visconti. The Genoese pledged themselves not to enter 
the Adriatic with ships of war, nor to assist any rebellion 
on the part of Venetian dependencies ; the Venetians in 
like manner were excluded from Genoese waters ; both 
parties bound themselves to abstain from trading in the Sea 
of Azofif for three years. 

Venice immediately applied herself to restoring her 
fleet which had been ruined at Sapienza, and to re-establish- 
ing her business on an active basis. As after Curzola, so 
after Sapienza, the Republic displayed her wonderful 
elasticity and power of recovery. In Egypt, in Barbar}', 
with the Flemish and with the Tartars, she renewed her 
treaties and reorganised her commerce ; and when the three 
years of exclusion from the Sea of Azoff had expired, she 
was ready to step in at once and to resume the valuable 
traffic in those waters. The stability of her constitution 
enabled her thus to devote her whole energies to commercial 
enterprise, to the restoration of her exhausted treasury, and 
the rehabilitation of her shattered fleet after each disaster 
which she suffered at sea. With her rival Genoa the case 


Was difTerent. Victorious a9 she had been at Sapienza, she 
■was not a free agent; after the battle of Caglinri 
she had surrendered herself to the protection of 
Visconti, and Visconti dictated the terms of her treaty of 
3 with Venice. But after that treaty had been signed, 
Genoa was unable to devote all her energies to reenpera- 
tion. She found herself at once engaged in a stru™le to 
shake off the Visconti yoke, and to regain her liberty ; and 
BO, while Venice was recruiting her strength to try a freah 
fall, her rival was exhausting her forces in a struggle for 
independent existence. 

Venice herself, however, was no longer in that free and 
isolated position which she had enjoyed before the treaty of 
Treviso. She was now a mainland power, possessed of 
territory which exposed her to attack from liostile neigh- 
bours. The most vigorous and most formidable of these 
was the King of Hungary, who grudged the Republic its 
lordsMp in Dalniatia. Already, while the Genoese war 
was raging, Lewis I. had demanded tlie cession of Daimatia, 
and though Venetian diplomacy had succeeded in avoid- 
ing the danger for a time, it was erident that tlie King 
intended to seize that province on the first favourable 
Opportunity, The Eepublic saw itself, much against its 
will, on the point of being engaged in a serious war on the 
mainland. Reinforcements and commanding officers were 
sent to Daimatia, and also to the Trevisan marches, the 
two points where an attack was expected. Lewis of 
Hungary meanwhile began to prepare a coalition against 
Venice. The Counts of Gorizia, now conterminous with 
the newly-acfjuired territory of the Republic, were ready 
Lto join in an attack on a neighbour wliose extension they 
^viewed with suspicion. But the King had in prospect the 
mpport of an ally still more dangerous to Venice. It is 
■ne that the Carraresi, the lords of Padua, had been estab- 
ished in their sovereignty by the help of Venice, and owed 
\ quasi-allegirtnce to the Republic as their suzerain. But 
I was equally certain that the Carrara family would en- 
savour to make itself independent, would aim at becoming 
Padua in the same sense that Visconti was lord of 



Milan ; and this policy could oiily lead to on 
conduct, hostility to their most powerful ueighboi 
and alliance with its enemies, for the strength of 
Venice imphed their ultimate absorption, 
of Venice gave them their one chance of achieving inde- 

The Eepuhlic was aware of this inevitable attitude on 
the part of the lord of Padua. She sent ambassadors to 
sound him as to the position he proposed to occupy iu tlie 
coming struggle. His answers were evasive ; he endeavotu^il 
to tlirow the blame of a rupture upon Venice by making 
preposterous demands in return for his assistance. Mean- 
time Lewis was advancing rapidly through Friuli : he seizeJ 
Sacile and ConegUano and laid siege to the strong place of 
Treviso. At this juncture Gradenigo died, and was 
succeeded by Giovanni Dolfin, who at the moment 
of his election was shut up in the leaguered city by the 
Hungarian troops. The new Doge was a man of vigour 
and a horn soldier. By a clever night sortie he «aeaped 
from Treviso, rode through the Hungarian cautonmenU, 
reached Mestre and thence Venice. Hia first operation was to 
force Carrara to declare himself for or against the Eepublic 
Fresh ambassadors were sent to Padua. But Carrara, who 
had temporised at tirst while Lewis was etiU distant, 
hesitated no more, now that the King was in virtual posses- 
sion of the Ti'evisan marches. He declared for Hungary 
against bis protector. This was his deatli-warraut, thougli 
he could not know it ; for Ijcwis was only in Italy in order 
to compel Venice to cede Dalmatia. As soon as that object 
had been achieved the King would retire, and it was 
certain that Venice, unless she were herself destroyed, would 
destroy the lord of PadutL No other course was open to 
her ; the Republic could not, after this experience of Carrara's 
temper, allow so powerful a territory, and one ao near 
to her, to remain in the hands of an independent lord who was 
sure to prove a foe. Venice learned from the hostility of 
Carrara that she must make herself mistress of Padua ; and 
thus she began to find herself thrust further and further 
forward into the Italian mainland, and along a line of policy 


destined to land her in the disasters of the let^e of 
Camhray in 1510. 
^ ' The success of the Hnngfirian arms in the Trevi- 

san toarches continued uninteiinptedly. Treviso itself alone 
held out. And that city was on the point of yielding when 
the Pope, after great difficulties, succeeded in procuring a 
truce for five months, till Easter of 1357. But this truce 
did not lead to a peace, and when it expired hostiUties were 
renewed with greater fury. The Hungarians arrived on the 
shores of the lagoons, and threatened to attempt an entry 
into Venice with small boats. The cities C'astelfranco, 
Oderzo, Noale, Mestre, headed by Treviso, still continued 
their resistance. But such a strain could not be endured 
for long, and the Hungarians, masters of the open country, 
Bhowed no signs of retiring. Discontent grew apace inside 
Venice. The treasury, in spite of the open sea and the 
active commerce, was becoming exliausted. Merchandise 
might arrive in the port, but with the mainland in the hands 
of the enemy, there were no outlets for its distribution. 
The Government found itself forced to make use of the 
Amds laid by to meet the interest on public bonds ; and in 
order to replace this fund a fresh tax of one per cent on 
income had to be raised. There was danger of an outburst 
of popular discontent in the city itself. The Government 
began to consider terms of peace which, under such 
drcumstances, could not be otherwise than disastrous and 
hnmiliating. Ambassadors were sent to King Lewis at 

The King's conditions were explicit. The Venetians were 
to surrender the whole of Ualmatia ; the Doge was to re- 
nounce the title of Duke of Dalmatia ; the King promised 
to restore all the cities he had captured in Istria and the 
Trevisan marches, and to guarantee Venetian shipping 
■gainst pirates. When these clauses were reported to Venice 
the Senate made a brave show of indignation ; Venetian 
pride could not condescend so much as to discuss pro- 
posals so insiUting; Venice could not renounce Dalmatia; 
it was necessary for the very existence of the Republic ; 
and how could the King of Hungary, a land power, guai-antee 


immunity from pirates ? But the answer to all this was very 
short and only too obvious : Dalmatia was already 
lost, and Treviso on the point of falling ; to save one 
it was absolutely necessary to sacrifice the other. The 
terms were accepted perforce, and the treaty of peace, with 
an additional clause including the allies of both parties, and 
therefore Francesco Carrara, was signed on 18th 
February 1358. ^^^ 

The results of the Hungarian war left Venice but little 
reason to be satisfied with the first fruits of her policy of 
extension on terra fenna. She had lost Dalmatia^ and with 
it much of her power in the Adriatic; she was on the 
point of losing Treviso, and was still destined to do so; 
she had been debarred from vengeance on Carrara, and 
even compelled to receive him in Venice with outward 
honours, which made but a poor cloak for her inward 

Peace, however, had been restored for the present; and 
the population of Venice was able once more to turn aU its 
attention to the bee-like task of accumulating wealth and 
extending its conmierce. The Government, in this breathing 
space, had time to study the lessons of the Hungarian war. 
They saw that their territory on the mainland was exposed 
to attack by princes as powerful as the King of Hungary. 
They considered how they could best protect themselves 
against such attacks for the future. No happier expedient 
presented itself to them than the method of diplomacy 
which was entailed upon them as one of the consequences 
of their mainland dominion. They attempted to secure an 
imperial title for their newly-acquired possessions. In this 
they were merely following the usual policy of an Italian 
mainland prince, who sought a vague authority, and still 
more shadowy shield, in a title drawn from the Pope or 
the Emperor, in a papal or an imperial diploma. The 
Venetians sent an embassy to Charles IV. to request a 
regular infeudation of the Trevisan marches. But the 
mission proved most unfortunate. It failed at the Imperial 
Court ; two of the ambassadors were made prisoners on their 
homeward journey, and remained in custody for nearly two 


years ; and while the whole matter was still in suspense 
the Doge died, 

Lorenzo Celsi succeeded to the throne, and the 

I beginning of his reign was marked by a double event, which 

showed with what rapidity Venice was able to repair 

the disasters of war, and to restore her exchequer. 

In September the Duke of Austria arrived with a large 

retinue, bringing with him the imprisoned ambassadors ; he 

was met at Treviso and conducted down the Sile in bathes 

tof State, past Torcello, Mazzorbo, San Giacomo, where the 
Doge, in tlie Bucentaiiro, joined the procession. The city 
spent no less than 10,000 ducats in amusing him. And 
immediately after his departure it was called upon to 
spend another large amount for the reception of Pietro 
Lusignon, King of Cyprus. 
^ The Eepublic was bent upon a pohcy of peace if she 
Bcould by any means compass it. She refused to mix in the 
^Iflonjplieations of Italy, though invited to do so by the Pope ; 
^Kahe showed herself accommodating in the case of new diffi- 
Beulties between herself and Carrara ; she renewed her treaty 
Bwith John Paleologus, Emperor of Constantinople. Other 
indications of the pacific temper of Venetian diplomacy at 
this period may he foimd in the choice which Petrarch made 
of tlie Eepublic as the securest depository of his precious 
..and mucli-loved library; a gift whereof no trace remains, 
[although it fonued the foundation of that famous Ubrary of 
J S, Mark — enriched by Cardinal Bessarion, by Contarini, and 
I iy Nani — which exists in full and vigorous activity down 
ftto this very day. The manuscript books were accepted, and 
vjtlaced in a chamber over the portico of S. Mark's, though 
tHrhat became of them subsetinently is unknown. In return 
■%>T his generosity Petrarch received from the Eepublic a 
|}loi)se on tlie Eiva degli Schiavoni. 

Lorenzo Celsi, though only fifty -three years old when 

i ascended the throne, enjoyed a very brief reign. He 

|ied in 1365, An obscure remark in Sanudo's Ziucs of the 

i us to suspect some tragedy concealed behind this 

irly death. " And be it observed," says Sanudo, " that had 

I not died then, after mliug for four years, he wonld have 


come to the same end as Marin Falier," Eveiythiog indA 
points to the existence, or at least the suspicion, of 

some kind of conspiracy analogous to that of Falier. 

But Faliet's failure had demonstrated the power of the Ten 
and the solidity of the new constitution. The Cmisii/Uo dt 
IHciri, whatever may have been the facts of the case, were now 
able to declare, after the Doge's death, tliat, having examined 
the charges against him, it ordered all the papers to be 
destroyed, and officially affirmed that the charges were 
false. Nevertheless the jn'omissiom, or coronation oatb, 
which his successor was called upon to swear, shows n 
marked increase in the restrictions which surrounded tbe 
ducal authority, and puts a coping-stone to that long series 
of enactments whereby the aristocracy rendered the chief 
magistrate a mere nonentity in the State. 

Before proceeding to the election of a new D(^ the 
GorreUori of the coronation oath added the following obU- 
gations to the already onerous promises exacted from tbe 
head of the State. He now swore that he would abdicate, 
OE being desired to do so by all the six Coimglicri Dwaii 
and a majority of the Great Council, and would vacate the 
ducal palace within three days of the presentation of such 
a request ; on the other hand, he was not allowed to abdicate 
of his own accoixi ; when we reach the tragic episode of tbe 
Foseari family, we shall see both these regulations working 
in fuU force. As was iisual in Venice, contemporaneously 
with a diminution of ducal authority came an increase in 
ducal pomp. The Doge's household was increased in 
numbers and in splendour; but this was not sufficient to 
render the position of the supreme magistrate anything less 
than repulsive to a man of spirit ; and it is not snrprisin;; 
to find that the next Duke but one, Andrea Contarini, the 
great leader who conducted the Kepublic safely through the 
troubles of the war of C'hioggia, and displayed such intrepid 
courage as head of the State, should have positively refused 
to accept his election as Doge of Venice, and should only 
have yielded on threat of confiscation and perhaps of worse. 

Whether Lorenzo Celsi's conspiracy, if it ever existed, 
was an outcome of the reaction against the new constitudon, 



established by the Scrrata del Maijijior ConsUjlio ; whether 
it is to be considered as the last and the weakest 
of that series of protests which were raised by 
Boceonio, by Tiepolo, by Falier, or not, it is nearly certain 
that the revolt of Candia, which began under his reign, and 
which he left as a legacy to his successor, Marco 
Corner, was very closely connected with the estab- 
lishment and the policy of the new aristocracy. 

We have already remarked that the course of this 
chapter would show us how Venice, by her policy of exten- 
sion, brought herself into collision \rith Hungary, Austria, 
and Carrara on the mainland, with Genoa and with her 
own colonies iii her Levantine Empire. The Republic had 
always been rather jealous of her own offshoots. After the 
fourth Crusade, the mother-city was seriously alarmed lest 
the Venetians in Constantinople should separate themselves 
&om the parent stock ; she had shown no objection to the 
restrictions which John Paleologus wished to impose upon 
Venetian holders of real property within the Empire. The 
Venetian system of colonisation was not a system of con- 
quest but of plantation. The Eepublic sent out her colonists 
settle amicably, if possible, among the native inhabitants 
the country to be colonised, and trusted to the industry 
id commercial ability of her citizens to make her mistress 
'<rf the new territory sooner or later ; she was, of course, 
i|:eady to support her citizens by arms if need were; but 
ilier principle was to allow the flag to follow commerce ; she 
lid not expect commerce to follow the flag. 

When Candia was first colonised many cadets of noble 

louses took part in the operation. These Venetian nobles, 

they been at home, would, under the provisions of the 

■SemUa del Mnggior Consiglio, have found themselves included 

governing caste inside the Eepublic. They claimed 

'W to be admitted to such offices as that of Duke, of 

n, of Councillor, in the island where they were settled, 

all of which, by the constitution of the colony, could 

ly be filled by a Venetian nobleman. The request was a 

1 one ; to grant it would have secured to the Candiots 

and intelligent government by Venetians, who were 


u\ :ho same time thon)ughly versed in the affairs of tlie 
isLiiui. But it was refused. Venice treated the 
;ioMcs of the Candiot colony as if they had no ^^ ^ 
clAim to be considered patricians of the Republic. This 
brtni a profound discontent, which easily amalgamated 
with the desire among the native Candiots for absolute 

Matters reached a crisis when Candia presented a request 
to be allowed to send twenty sages as representatives to 
protect Candian interests at the capital Tliis was some- 
thing similar to the demand on the part of a colony for a 
voice in the Imperial Parliament ; to accede to the request 
would have been to take a step in the direction of federation. 
But the new aristocracy had no such intentions in their 
view ; and the scornful answer, " We were not aware that 
you possessed twenty sages in Candia," showed the Candiots 
that they had notliing to expect from the mother-country 
in that direction. The immediate pretext for revolt was 
the exaction of a tax for the improvement of the islaud 
harbours, which the Candiots refused to pay unless Venice 
c^uisented to receive their representatives. 

The Duke of Candia, Leonardo Dandolo, declared the 
chiim inadmissible ; he charged the rebels to disperse ; tliey 
stood linn, and in a few days the whole island was in open 
n^volt. The native Candiots were headed by a Calergi anJ 
n Mudazzo; the Venetian element in the revolution had a 
W^nit^', a Gradenigo, and a Falier as leaders. In expectation 
of t hii aiTival of an armament from Venice, the rebels strained 
i^vi'ry nerve to collect troops ; they enrolled all the rabble 
«if the island — pimtes, thieves, murderers; and with this 
initlisciplined army they waited the coming of the Venetians. 
Thi' Kepublic endeavoured to pacify the revolt Twice it 
Mt'iit commissioners with orders to use persuasion, not force. 
I tilth times the commissioners were repulsed and compelled 
(ii si'ck safety on board their galleys. Then Venice became 
/ifiiously alarmed lest she should lose Candia. She addressed 
I ho l^niperor, the Pope, Naples, and Hungar}', begging them 
l.ij ivniain neutral in the quarrel ; and she despatched a force 
iiiidrr the famous mercenary captain, Luchino dal Venue, to 



jrednce the island to obedience. The force was a amall one, 
and would have been quite iuaiifficient for the 
purpose had not the state of Caudia rendered the 
task comparatively ensy. The rabble army of the Candiota 
lad taken to murder and to plundering ; the leaders of the 
revolution did not act in accord among themselves ; the natives 
were hostile to the Venetians, and had massacred many. 
"When Luchino arrived off C'andia it only cost him three 
days to reduce the capital, which was handed over to him by 
the Venetian Candiots, who preferred to rely on the clemency 
of their compatriots rather than remain any longer associated 
with the natives, who threatened them all with death. Some 
of the rebels were executed, others pardoned, and the whole 
.island seemed to be reduced to its allegiance once more. 
'"Tlie Venetian side of the rebellion was crushed, and the 
news despatched to the capital. " It was on the 4th of 
Jime," writes Petrarch, " that I was standing at my window, 
enjoying the prospect of the opeu sea, in company with the 
Archbishop of Patras, when a galley under oar and sail 
swept through the mouth of the port, and arrested our 
conversation. AVe augured good news, for the masts were 
garlanded with flowers, and on the deck were lads, crowned 
with green wreaths and waving flags over their heads ; from 
the poop trailed the standards of the enemy," 

The news that Candia had submitted spread through 
ithe city ; and the joy it occasioned is a proof of the alarm 
Iwbich Venice had experienced. A solemn thanksgiving 
I'lervice was ordered in S. Mark's, to be followed by a festival 
the Piazza. " The crowd was immense. Not an inch 
imoccupied, and yet no confusion, no tumult, no ill humour. 
The gamea were held in that Square to which the world 
cannot show a match. The Doge and Ids suite viewed the 
spectacle from the platform in front of the Church where 
stand the four bronze horses, and, to shield them from the 
glare of the sun, a rich and many-coloured awning was 
spread over their heads. I was there myself, upon the 
s's right. The Piazza, the Church front, the tower, the 
ifs, the porticoes, and windows presented a living wall of 
)ple. At one side of the basilica was a magniiicent 


pavilion for the Venetian ladies, who, to the number of 
hundred, lent splendour to the scene, in which 
some relatives of the King of England took a part, 
and the strangers were astonished at the sight of so much 
munificence," So writes Petrarch, eye-witness of the 
brilliant spectacle. 

But these rejoicings were premature. The Venetian 
element in the revolt of Candia had been crushed,"it is true; 
the native element, however, led by the Calergi, soon blazed 
up into rebellion again when the troops of the Republic 
withdrew from the island. This time the Government acted 
\-igorously and mercilessly. It was a guerrilla war carried 
on among the mountains of Candia ; but little by little tie 
rebels were hunted down and slain. In the year 135G 
their last stronghold, Aimapoli, was captured, and 
Paolo Loredano reported t<i Venice that, " Thanks to 
the grace of God, I have put an end to a cruel war, and 
that famous island which has cost so much blood is for ever 
rendered incapable of further revolt. The rebels are 
without leaders, of whom I made a terrible exampla All 
the forts and strongholds which it seemed undeaii'able to 
keep, I have destroyed ; their inhabitants have been moved 
elsewhere ; the district round them made desolate ; return to 
them forbidden upon pain of death. AH native statutes 
and ordinances are abolished ; all natives removed from 
of&ce ; your governors will be guarantee for their sub- 

It was in this way that Venice passed through her fint 
great danger from one of her own colonies, and displayed 
the policy which she intended to adopt towards all Levantine 
possessions which might subsequently come into her hands. 
They were to be ruled as conquered dependencies ; the 
absolute sovereignty of the capital, her title of DomiTunitf. 
was asserted ; the idea of federation rejected. 

The remaining years of Marco Comer's Dogeship wen; 
passed in peace and in commercial activity. He was 
succeeded by Andrea Contarini, whose eventful reign saw 
Venice passing through the last phase of her desperate 
fratricidal struggle with her rival Genoa. Difficulties and 




E dangers thicken around her. Her enemies, Austria, Hun- 
gary, Carrara, Genoa, draw closer together for her 
destruction ; she is approaching the greatest crisis 
in her external life ; and she is enabled to meet that crisis 
triumphantly, only because she had already achieved her 
internal completion, the fidl maturity of her constitutional 
growth. The men she now produced were horn and bred 
ander the conception of that Venice wliich had been created 
"by the Strrata dd Maggior CoTisiglio ; the reactionary and 
recalcitrant element, prone to rebel against the domination 
of the oligarchy and its instrument the Council of Ten, 
had been crushed and ahsorhed, after the revolts of 
Bocconio, of Tiepolo, of Falter, of Celai, at home, of Candia 
led by Veniers and Gradenighi abroad. The men who 
were now coming to the front were animated by the 
spirit of the dominant party, enthusiastic in their self- 
Bacrifice, self-negation, devotion to the abstract idea of 
Venice which was the essence of the oligarchical conception, 
and produced a patriotism more fervent than any that was ever 
offered to a personal sovereign. Self-effacement is the note 
■of the great Venetians of this glowing period, of Andrea 
Contarini, of Vettor Pisani, of Carlo Zeno. With all the 
■accumulated glory and prestige of centuries to lend it 
strength and substance, the passionate devotion of the first 
jEsher settlers for the mud banks of their lagoons wakes once 
more in these their most vigorous offspring, and nerves them 
to conduct theii' beloved city in safety through the severest 
crisis of her long career. 

Andrea Contarini had no sooner ascended the throne 
Wian he found the Republic embroiled with the Duke of 
'Austria. From the time of Enrico Daudolo onwards 
^Trieste had been in a position of lax tributary to Venice. 
'The city was obliged to pay certain nominal dues, and to fly 
the standard of S, Mark on festivals. She now seized an 
Opportunity to revolt. She refused to run up the lion of the 
Apostle, and placed herself imder the protection of Leopold, 
Duke of Austria. Venice laid siege to the town ; 


Taddeo Giustinian defeated the Austrian troops 

rhich were marching to its aid ; and Duke Leopold, following 


the true Hapsburgian policy, accepted 75,000 ducats in 
lieu of whatever rights he possessed over Trieste. ^^ 
The city yielded to the Venetians, and to secure 
themselves against a similar revolution, the Venetian cap- 
tain, Michiel, began to build the strong and dominating 
castle of S. Giusto. 

The Triestine episode was no sooner concluded than 
another enemy, Francesco Carrara, began to cause uneasiness. 
He was working slowly down the Brenta, building forts at 
Oriago and elsewhere: he was stealing gradually nearer 
to the lagoons, and intended to establish salt pans of his 
own if he were able. This would have seriously interfered 
with one great source of Venetian revenue, her monopoly 
of salt; but, more than that, Carrara's presence in force 
on the Brenta was a continual menace to the water system 
of the lagoons, a subject upon which the Bepublic had 
learned by experience to be peculiarly sensitiva All 
attempts at an amicable settlement of the disputed points 
proved useless. War was inevitable ; unsought by Venice, 
desired and precipitated by Carrara, who counted on copious 
and vigorous support from the King of Hungary. While 
matters were still doubtful, and war not yet declared, tlie 
whole city of Venice was alarmed and infuriated by the dis- 
covery of a plot to murder some of the members of the Senate 
who were most keenly opposed to Carrara ; and this horror 
was intensified when it was found that the lord of Padua 
had succeeded in suborning two Venetian nobles, Leonardo 
Morosini and Luigi Molin, to assist his designs by furnishing 
information of what passed in the Senate Chamber. The 
assassins lodged in the house of an old woman called la 
gdbha, who lived near the Merceria. They naturally kept 
loose company, and the plot was revealed to the Government 
by two women of the town. Morosini and Molin, the two 
traitorous nobles, were killed in prison. The assassins were 
dragged at a horse's tail from the Kialto to S. Mark, and 
quartered between the columns of the Piazzetta. The 
Venetians never forgave this treacherous design ; they re- 
membered it against the Carraresi when Francesco Novello 
fell into their hands some thirty years later. 




War broke out. The troops of the King of Hungary were 
marching to the assistance of his ally Carrara. Venice 
implored the Duke of Austria to bar their passage, 
and offered bini all they had to offer, a larj^e sum of money, 
if he would assist them. But Carrara outbid the Republic ; 
he possessed Feltre and Belluno, wliich the Duke of Austria 
coveted more than money. The Hungarian troops came 
through the Austrian passes imdiaturbed, and debouched 
Upon the plain of Friuli. They were led by Stephen, the 
Vaivode of Transylvania, nephew of King Lewis. At 
Narvesa, on the Piave, the Venetians under Tad dec 
Giuatinian sustained a crushing defeat. This they repaired, 
however, by the victory of Fossa Nuova, where Venetian 
pikemen broke the charge of the splendid Hungarian cavalry. 
The Vaivode himself was taken prisoner. The capture of the 
Vaivode was a turning point in tlie war, for the possession 
of his person enabled Venice to detach the King of Hungary 
from Carrara. As the price of the Vaivode's liberty, Lewis 
withdrew his troops. Carrara was left alone ; he was unable 
to cope single-handed with the Venetians ; his own brothers 
were plotting against his life, as he very well knew. Under 
these circumstances he sought peace. 

The terms exacted by Venice were : — 

1. A delimitation of I'aduau territory. 

2. A war indemnity of 250,000 ducats. 

3. The destruction of all the forts Carrara had raised 

along the Breuta. 
The city of Feltre as a security for the observance of 

the contract 

Padua to supply itself with salt from Chioggia only. 

Francesco Carrara to come m person to Venice, and 

to ask pardon of the Doge. 

'o these terms Francesco was obliged to subscribe. He sent 

son Novello to fulfil the personal part of the engagement 

company with Petrarch the young Carram presented him- 

to the Senate. The laureate declaimed a Latin oration 

praise of peace, at the conclusion of which Carrara knelt 

td begged the Doge'3 pardon for his father's shortcomings. 

Venice enjoyed this triumph over her implacable enemy, 



But a peace which was not based upon the thorough 
suppression of one or the other party could not be 
of long iluration in a country where, as in Italy. 
each little state was struggling to pi-eserve its own exist- 
ence by absorbing its neighbours. It was certain that, on 
the first favourable opportunity, Carrara would again attack- 
Venice. And the opportunity was not long in arriving. 
Carrara found himself taking an active part in the last 
deadly stniggle between Venice and Genoa. He did every- 
thing that in him lay to support and assist the Genoese; 
and but for him the war of Chioggia would have had a maeli 
more rapid termination. The events which led up to this 
ultimate phase of the Genoese war will take our attention, 
for a time, from Italy to the Levant, the hereditary battle- 
field of the two maritime Republics. 

After their victory at yapienza, tlie Genoese had been m 
fully occupied with their own internal affairs tiiat they were 
unable to profit by their success,aud were debarred from carry- 
ing on any vigorous commercial rivalry with the foe they had 
just defeated. They watched the recovery of Venetian com- 
mercial prestige with jealous eyes, but were unable to take any 
steps to counteract it In the year 1373, tlie ceremony of the 
coronation of the yonthful Pierino Lusignan, King of C)'prus, 
furnished the occasion for an outburst of spite. In the 
coronation pi-ocession Paganino Doria, Genoese consid, claimed 
precedence of Malipiero, the Venetian representativa The 
Court officials decided the dispute in favour of Venice. At 
the coronation banquet Paganino vented his humour by 
throwing bread at Malipiero, The Venetians, supported by 
the Cypriotes, retaliated by hmling some of the Genoese 
out of the windows of the banqueting-hall. There was a 
general rising against the Genoese, and many were killed. 
When the news reached Genoa, the Doge's brother. Pietro 
di Campofregoso, was despatched with a very powerful fleet 
of thirt)'-six galleys to exact satisfaction. He captured 
Famagosta, obtained possession of the King's person, made 
him consent to pay an annual tribute of 4000 florins, and 
returned to Genoa with hostages for the King's good faith. 
Pierino Luaiguan appealed to Venice for protection. But the 




Bepublic was not prepaied to make the King's quarrel 
a roAus hdli \ it conteDted itself with sending on 
embassy to Genoa to protest against Campofregoao's 
high-lianded proceedings at Fam^osta, and accepted a eon- 
ciliatoiy answer from the Genoese Doge. 

Other events, however, were in preparation which ended 
by rendering a war between the two Republics inevitable. 
John Paleologus, Emperor of the East, was being slowly 
cnished by the growing Ottoman power. He had come to 
Italy in the vain hope of securing some support against the 
Turk. On his way through Venice he borrowed money of 
Venetian merchants, and when he wished to depart, be was 
informed that he could not be allowed to do so without 
depositing some security for liia debt. John had no 
security to offer ; he had come to borrow, not to deposit, and 
so he was obliged to remain in Venice. His son Androuicus, 
who was acting as regent in Constantinople, showed no 
laagemess to bring his father home ; but John's younger son, 
Manuel, converted all his own possessions into jewels, sent 
them to Venice, and secured the Emperor's release. When 
John Paleologus reached Constantinople he was quickly 
followed by a Venetian ambassador, wlio demanded a renewal 
of the commercial privileges in favour of the IJepublic, and the 
cession of the island of Tenedos for the price of 3000 ducats 
and the jewels which John had left in pawn, The Emperor 
refused ; but Marco Giustinian, the Venetian commander, pre- 
sented an ultimatum couched in most peremptory language, 
informing Paleologus that if he persisted in his refusal Venice 
would make terms with the Sultan Murad, and deprive him of 
his throne. John was forced to yield, and thus the island of 
Xenedos became nominally the property of Venice. But the 
iportune position of this island, lying as it does so near 
the mouth of the Dardanelles, made the possession of it an 
object of extreme desire to the CJenoese. They could not 
quietly consent to see it pass into the hands of their rivals. 
Meantime Andronicus, the son of John Paleolt^us, and 
Saugi, son of Sultan Murad, entered into a plot against their 
ipective fathers. Miirad marched against both rebels, 
Lptured them, blinded and slew his own son, and sent 


Androniciis with a message to John, that the Sultan 
would judge of the Emperor's character by the 
way in which he dealt with his rebellious oflFspring. 
Paleologus replied by blinding Andronicus, and imprison- 
ing him in the tower of Anema. It now occurred to 
the Genoese, in search of some pretext for upsetting 
the Venetian claim to Tenedos, that this rebellious and 
imprisoned prince was an instrument made to their 
hand. From their stronghold in Pera they virtuaDy 
governed the Imperial city; they could therefore offer to 
place Andronicus on the throne if he would promise to make 
them a gift of Tenedos, the coveted. Andronicus consented 
gladly. By a cowp de main the Emperor John was seized 
by the Genoese and imprisoned in the same tower whence 
they had just released his son to place him on the throne. 
But the Genoese calculations failed. When they presented 
the Imperial order for the surrender of Tenedos to the 
governor of the island, he refused to recognise Andronicus, 
and insisted that John's cession to Venice was the only valid 
one. On the strength of this he offered to place Tenedos in 
the hands of Giustinian at once. There was no time to con- 
sult the home Government. Giustinian accepted the cession 
in the name of the Republic ; and the lion of S. Mark was 
hoisted on the island. 

War could no longer be avoided. Genoa hastened to urge 
Carrara to join her in attacking the Eepublic; he 
agreed with alacrity, and on his side he secured the ' 
promise of help from Hungary. Against this powerful coali- 
tion Venice could only rely upon the doubtful support of the 
Visconti, lords of Milan. But she entered upon her prepara- 
tions with enthusiasm and courage. Her levies were called 
out by the system of groups of twelve, and the first three 
divisions were drafted for immediate service. Mercenaries 
were hired for the defence of the Trevisan marches. A loan 
was raised, and increased duties on wine and food poured a 
large sum of money into the treasury. Two great naval 
commanders took the sea ; Carlo Zeno, the intrepid and fiery, 
was sent to Negropont; Vettor Pisani, the able tactician 
and strategist, was invested with the supreme conmiand. 


i received the standard of the Eepublic in the Basilica of 

I 1378. 

S. Mark, at the hands of the third great hero of the 

Andrea Contarini : 
destined by God to defend the State, and to avenge her 
injuries through your valour. Therefore we consign to you 
this glorious ensign ; see that yon biing it back safe and 

Pisani sailed in April He made for Genoese waters, in- 
tending to intercept Fieschi, should he attempt to make for 
the Levant. On the 30th of May, off Cape Autium, in a 
stormy sea and a deluge of rain, he attacked and utterly 
defeated the Genoese admiral. Had he been stronger he 
might have attacked Genoa itself. As it was, after a cruise 
in the Levant he returned to clear the Adriatic of Genoese 
pirates, who were infesting it from the shelter of the Dal- 
matian coast. He took Cattaro and Sebenico, and then upon 
fders from the Senate, who refused to allow him to return 
I Venice, and much against his better judgment, he went 
ito winter quarters at Pola. 

In May 1379 Pisani was still lying at Pola; his fleet 
stood in need of repair, his men of rest and recruit- 
ing. He had been on the sea more than a year 
itiiout touching Venice. But the Senate would not consent 
t his return, Tliey despatched instead, two Provedilori to 
advise and supervise the admiral. Their presence was both 
annoying and, as it proved, disastrous. On 7th May 
Luciano Doria suddenly appeared off the mouth of Pola har- 
Pisani did not wish to fight. But his crews were 
of inaction, and the Provef/ifori displayed the confi- 
loe of the ignorant. The commander, seeing himself out- 
id, gave orders to sail, and put himself in van crying, 
loves S. Mark, let him follow me." Pisani in person 
down on the enemy's flagship, and killed the admiral 
la ; but some of his captains missed their charge, and the 
Venetian fleet was thrown into confusion through unskilful 
idling. In spite of the Admiral's heroic conduct, whicli 
his enemies praised, the rout of the Venetians was 
Lplete ; only six galleys succeeded in finding shelter in 



Venice had nottiing more thau this miserable renmiSr 
of Pisani's fleet between herself and the \ictorious 
Genoese. Hard presaed by Carrara on the main- 
land ; with Mestre bombarded by some of the earliest cancoii 
used in Italy ; with Pietro Doria, Genoese admiral, cniising 
off the Lido, it is little wonder that the city was aJmosl 
panic-stricken ; and her terror found expression in tie 
unjust punishment of her defeated commander. Pisani ww 
summoned to Venice and placed upon his trial. The Court 
condemned him, and the law officers of the State evoj 
moved for sentence of death ; but Venice was to be spared 
that disgrace. Pisani was sent to prison for six montle, 
and deprived of the power of holding oifice for five yenrs 
to come. 

Immediately after the defeat of Pola the position of 
Venice seemed nearly desperate. But the Genoese had lost 
their admiral in the fight; and while waiting the arrival 
of his successor, Pietro Doria, the Government had tinie 
to recover from its tempoi'ary panic, and the whole 
population, as one man, set to work to defend the home 
waters against the attack which was expected day by day. 
Chains were run across the mouth of the Lido port; ships 
with batteries were anchored in the channel; troops 
under Giacomo Cavalli were landed on the Lido ; the piles 
which mark the siniioais course of the canals through the 
lagoons were taken up ; the convent of S. Nicolo was forti- 
fied. In July Pietro Doria was off the Lido month, but lie 
did not attempt to force a passage ; he contented himself wilb 
setting fire to a galley, whose smoke and flames were visible 
in the city. He then sailed down the shore of tlie Lido to 
Malamocco, entered that port, landed troops on the lido of 
Pelestrina, and sailed on till he reached Cliioggia; he pasaeJ 
out again into the open by Brondolo. In a abort time he 
returned once more, with liis fleet raised, by reinforcements, 
to thirty-three sail. Ho cast anchor near Chioggia and began 
to take soundings ; his intention clearly was to make Chicggia 
his headquarters. Upon liis departure the Venetians closed 
the Malamocco mouth in the same way as they had already 
closed the Lido ; and more than this, seeing now that Dmit 



proposed to establish Mmaelf in the lagoona, they oi^anised a 
flotilla of light boats which would serve to harass the 
enemy. Ou 6th August Doria was again oil' the Lido 
with forty-seven sail. He moved leisurely down the coa3t aud 
made for Chioggia. The presence of Carrara with 24,000 
men on the mainland, which was close to Chioggia, caused 
Doria to choose that lagoon city as hia headquarters. There 
ho was sure of provisions and supplies, and from Chioggia 
he proposed to blockade the sea appi-oaches to Venice, while 
C&rrara did the same on land. But Chioggia was garrisoned 
by s courageous Venetian nobleman, Pietro Emo, and was 
not yet in Genoese hands. Ou 1 1th August Doria delivered 
his first assault, and was repulsed. Between the 12th and 
the 16th the operations of attack aud defence were con- 
tinuous. On the latter day, as the Venetians were retreat- 
ing from a vigorous sortie, the Genoese poured over the 
bridge along with them, entered the town, and Chioggia fell. 
It was taken over in the name of Carrara, lord of Padua. 
Francesco urged the Genoese to push on at once for Venice ; 
and had Doria done so it is almost impossible that the city 
should have escaped falling into liis hands. But the 
Admiral resolved to abide by his plan of a hlockade, and 
his design for starving Venice into surrender; a decision 
Vhich proved the salvation of the Piepublic aud his own ruin. 
The fall of Chioggia closes the first period of this memor- 
able war. Wlien the news reached Venice the alarm was 
itense. The bell of S. Mark rang to arms. The citizens 
■ded to the Piazza, expecting every moment to see the 
iuoese streaming up from Malamocco aud Poveglia aud S. 
>, for they never doubted that Doria would follow 
course indicated by Francesco Carrara, and attack at 
L No Genoese appeared. The position of the city 
imed almost hopeless, with hardly any ships in the 
lal, with the mainland shore of the lagoon in the hands 
enemy. The Government considered that their last 
■ce lay iu negotiating for the least ruinous terms their 
would grant. The Doge sent to ask Carrara for a safe- 
induct in favour of three envoys. The answer showed 
little Venice had to hope from the mercy of such foes. 

CaiTara replied that he would not hohl his hand till he i 
bitted and bridled the horses on S. Mark's. 

At this moment of extreme depression the Vene- 
tians showed the stuff which was in tliem. A palisade wa^ 
run across the lagoon from the Lido to S. Spirito ; all the 
magistrates renounced their pay ; new imposts were borae 
without a murmur ; the unity of the race was deuionstrated 
when the whole population was summoned to the Vmu. 
and Pietro Mocenigo, in the Doge's name, with few tul 
weighty words, explained the extremity of the peril, annouoceii 
that the poor would find food at the homes of the rich, for all 
distinctions disappeared in face of the common danger, and 
invited the people to express their wishes on the questioD 
of continuing the war. The answer came back at once in 
the cry, " Let us man every vessel there is in Venice, and go 
to and fight the eucmy," 

The question was who should take the command in thi§ 
supreme crisis of the national history. The Govenunffllt 
nominee was Taddeo Giustinian. But there was anotfaff 
leader who had won all the love of the people, all the om- 
fidence of the sailors, Vcttor Pisani, who stiE lay in priwn, 
paying an unmerited penalty for a defeat which was none 
of his fault. The popular cry for Pisani grew so atroiig 
that the Government thought it prudent to yield- Pisani 
was taken from prison, and the Doge solemnly exhotUd 
him to obliterate the memory of past defeats by future 
victories, to dwell more upon the present clemency than 
upon recent severity, and to wipe out, not any fanciwi 
wrongs inflicted on himself, but the real injuries suffered 
by his native city. Pisani's reply was inspired by a noble 
self-sacrifice. "Neither the State nor its magistrates have 
done me any wrong. All that I suffered was but the 
inevitable result of your wise maxims, the outcome of 
your natural pain, I endured my imprisonment wilbont 
a murmur ; now that I have regained my liberty, my whole 
existence is dedicated to my country." Nevertheless, tbou^i 
the Government bad yielded to the popular cry, in appear- 
ance, the people soon found that, in fact, it intended to 
retain its own nominee. Pisani was only associateil -with 



Giustinian, and in the division of commauds lie received 
the less important, the Lido district, not the post 
of admiral of the fleet The sailor population, so 
personally attached to its hero, was on the point of mutiny. 
They went to Pisani and said, " ' My lord, give ua what 
orders you please, for we are going to stay with you ; ' 
and Messer Pisani answered, ' My comrades and brothers, 
E to the Signory, they will give you your orders.' 
They went with banners flying, and said, ' Give us galleys 
ibr ua to man, that we may sail under Messer Pisani wher- 
.ever he may go ; ' but the governors replied, ' Go, get ye 
small boats from the Arsenal ; man those, and put your- 
selves under Messer Taddeo Giustinian, the Captain of the 
With this answer they went away very ill content, 
muttering that they would be cut in pieces rather than 
jerve under Taddeo Giustinian ; and, as they left the 
palace, they threw down the flag, with many wicked words, 
irfaich it is better to pass over in silence," So an old 
chronicler describes the scene. The Government was wise 
once more, and to the joy of all the people and the sailors, 
Vettor Pisani received the supreme command. Messengers 
were sent in search of Carlo Zeuo with orders that he 
should return home. Tlie Government promised to ennoble 
tlie thirty citizens who should make the greatest sacrifices 
r their city. The Doge declared that he himself would sail 
1 board the fleet A forced loan of 5 per cent produced 
he enormous sum of 6,294,040 lire, proving that, in spite 
of long wars and present reverses, Venetian financial 
resources were still profound. The appointment of Pisani 
i to have restored tone and confidence. Thirty-four 
kUeys were put together, and the public was still further 
wrtened by a slight success which the light flotilla under 
»rbarigo secured, and by Cavalli's expulsion of the 
Genoese from the Malamocco ; he drove them slowly down 
towards Chioggia, till he had freed the Pelestrina lido as 
well, leaving the enemy still in possession of Sottomarina, 
Brondolo, Chioggia, and the mainland. 

Meanwhile the Genoese were beginning to feel the diffi- 
culties of a campaign conducted far from home. Provisions 


were not lacking, it is true ; the ajainland was in the 
of their ally Carrara. But the ships showed signs 
of wear and tear. Winter was coming on, and Dona 
drew his whole fleet iuto Chioggia, intending to wait there 
for reinforcement a from Genoa. 

This opemtion suggested to I'isani his brilliant plan of 
campaign. He resolved to bloclcade the blockaders — U> 
shut the Genoese into Chioggia. To effect this blockade it 
was necessary to close the exits from Chioggia to the open 
sea. Three channels gave egress to the sea — the port of 
Chioggia, between Pelestrina and Sottoinarina ; the port of 
Brondolo, between Sottomarina and the mainland ; and the 
Canal di Lombardia, which led from Chioggia across the 
lagoon, passing the Malamoceo port, and reaching Venice and 
the Lido opening iuto the Adriatic. Pisani detetraiued to close 
all these exits by sinking ships full of stones in the deepest 
waters. On the night of 23rd December, after a solerun ser- 
vice in S. Mark's, the Doge, many of the Senate, and alni(«l 
the entire male population embarked on board the thirty-fom 
galleys and the flotilla of lighter boats. With a fair wind, 
and headed by Pisani aud Giustinian, they sailed away acres 
the lagoon for Chioggia. By daybreak they were at the 
Chioggia port. One side of this outlet, tlie Peleatrinn side, 
was already in their hands ; the other, the Sottomarini 
side, was held by the Genoese. Pisani landed troops, ffhu 
engaged the enemy at that point, wliile his sailors pro- 
ceeded to sink two barges in niid-chaonel, upon which the 
I^hter boats heaped stones. The loss on the Sottomarina 
point was heavy, hut in a short time the Chioggia port vis 
effectually closed. Brondolo presented greater difficullis- 
The deep water was there divided iuto two channels, one ffl 
which ran close under the Sottomarina shore, the otbB 
under the mainland shore. Both banks were held by tbfl 
enemy. The fire, therefore, upon those who were workJng 
to block the channels, was near and deadly. But Federiw 
Comer, to whom Pisani entrusted the operation, succeeJw- 
The Brondolo port also was closed. Pisani turned find 
sailed up the Canal di Lombardia. blocking that also bebind 
him with sunken ships. Then he passed out into the ops" 


I sea, and sailed down to Chioggia, where he took up his 
station, with the double purpose of preventing the 
Genoese from breaking through the barriers he had 
just erected, and from receiving any provision or reiofoice- 
ment by way of the sea. The mainland now was the only 
source of supply left to the Genoese, who found themselves 
suddenly besieged instead of besi^era, completely shut up 
in Chioggia. 

The blockade of Chioggia closes the second period of 
the war. Pisani's position was far from secure. He ^aa 
on the open sea ; it was winter ; both Icvanie and sciroceo, 
two violent and prevailing winds, would give him a lee 
shore. The Genoese, who recognised the danger of their 
situation, were incessantly endeavouring to break out. 
Pisani'a crews, working by turns, day and night, defended 
the Brondolo barricade. The strain was becoming more 
than they could endure. A promise was wrung from the 
Admiral that if, by the first of January, Carlo Zeno had 
not arrived to his relief, he would withdraw irom the 
blockade of Chioggia, The anxiety of those days was 
intense. But the Doge nobly supported his great captain; 
he Bwore that, come what might, go home who would, he 
had resolved never to see Venice again till Chioggia was 
recaptured. The horizon was scanned day by day for the 
sight of a sail ; that sail might be the vanguard of CJenoese 
reinforcements for Doria, or Carlo Zeuo's long-expected fleet. 
At length, on the very last day, on the first of January, 
I ships were descried on the ofBng, and presently the lion 
S. Mark, not S. George of Genoa, was recognised as the 
Carlo Zeno had arrived not a moment too soon to 
iBave the waste of such months of heroism. Hia presence 
gave the Venetians not only the superiority in numbers, 
4mt what was more valuable still, a body of picked sailors. 
leno reported himself to the Doge, and the very same day 
jded to the point of danger, the Brondolo channel. 
Bat now the foreseen arrived. A storm blew up and drove 
Zeno's ship ashore, under one of the enemy's towers. Only 
by fighting furiously, and by throwing some of his cannon 



overboard, could Zeno succeed in floating his vessel, and 
bringing her back into safety. On 6th January 
Pisaui effected a landing on the Brondolo point, 
and planted his cannon, the Trevisana and the VUtoria, so 
little understood as yet that their gunners did not venture 
to fire them more than once a day; but they did good 
work. A shot from one of them struck the campanile 
in Chioggia, and the ruins, in their fall, killed Doria, the 
Genoese admiral His successor, Napoleone Grimaldi, see- 
ing how desperate the situation was becoming, resolved to 
cut a canal through the Lido of Sottomarina and so effect an 
escape to sea. But by the 13 th of February the Genoese 
were driven out of Brondolo and forced into Chioggia. Pisani 
took possession of Brondolo, and all possibility of cutting a 
new canal was at an end. Carrara, however, was still able 
to throw provisions and troops into the. town. In order to 
destroy this last resource of the Genoese, Pisani entrusted 
the necessary operations on the mainland to Carlo Zeno. 
His land forces consisted of mercenaries drawn from various 
nations — English, German, besides Italians. They were 
eager for the sack of Chioggia, and rapacious for pay ; they 
endeavoured to force Pisani and Zeno to deliver an assault 
upon the town. The caution of the two leaders counselled 
them to refuse. The mercenaries mutinied, and were only 
reduced to obedience when Zeno strung one of them, Eobert 
of Recanati, up to the yard of his own ship. Still it was 
with such troops as these that Zeno succeeded in cutting 
off the convoys sent to Chioggia by Francesco Carrara, 
thereby convincing the Genoese that their last hope of 
salvation lay in a desperate sortie. In May they b^^ to 
build light skiffs, made of the timbers and rafters of houses 
which they pulled down. They hoped to be able to sail 
over the obstacles in the Chioggia and Brondolo channels, 
and possibly to join the squadron of Matteo Maruffo, the 
Genoese admiral, who was cruising about on the farther 
side of the Venetian fleet, waiting to support a sortie from 
Chioggia. The sortie, twice repeated, failed. Zeno's men 
cut the Genoese to bits while they w^ere in the shoals, and 
Pisani's bolts sank the skiffs that had escaped into deeper 

I380- , 


water. Famine came to close the long list of Genoese 
disasters ; and, after some preliminary negotiations, 
Chioggia and the whole armament of Genoa sur- 
rendered to the Republic, at discretion, on 24th June 1380. 
The prisoners were conveyed to Venice, where, to the 
honour of the Venetians, they were most humanely treated. 
Thus closed the famous war of Chioggia, the acutest 
crisis through which the Republic ever passed. Regarded 
from the point of general European history, the war must 
he considered a disastrous folly. That Genoese and Vene- 
tians should have cut each other's throats inevitably left 
Italy and all Christendom the weaker in the Mediterranean. 
Could the two maritime Republics, instead of exhausting 
tliemselves in a fratricidal conflict, have agreed to share the 
merce of the Levant by amicable arrangement, it is 
possible that the Turk would never have reached Con- 
stantinople, and that Venice would have been spared her 
long and hopeless death-struggle. But the centrifugal 
quality in Italian political temperament, as well as the 
very vigour of the two growing States, placed such a 
icombination beyond the bounds of human providence, and 
rendered it impossible. From the narrower, tlie purely 
Venetian, point of view, the war of Chioggia seemed a 
.glorious triumph. The Republic emerged from it victorious ; 
her great rival Cienoa never recovered from the blow, and 
troubled her no more. The success of her arms and the 
indomitable courage and sacrifice displayed by her citizens, 
Jiigh and low, inspired every Venetian with a sense of 
pride and conHdeuce in his city and his race. But if 
■we inquire how the Repubhc was able to achieve such 
success as the issue of so many disasters, how she 
BUpported the frightful strain of incessant war, and the 
crushing effect of blow after blow — Sapienza, Dalmatia lost, 
libe mainland closed, her tleet all but annihilated at Pola — ■ 
(he answer is not so easy to find. Italy was amazed at her 
recuperative power, and perhaps was not wrong in ascribing 
ter vitality to the strength of her constitution, which 
>ecame a kind of ideal to Italian statesmen such as Gian- 
totti and MachiavelH. The stability of her Government, 


combined with the strength of her natural position, allowed 
her citizens to make the fullest use of every period 
of peace, however brief. A few years of such 
active trade as Venetians knew how to carry on, was 
sufficient to recruit the treasury. Venice had virtually a 
monopoly of the Mediterranean trade; Genoa, her great 
rival, lacked her advantages — she had an unstable constitu- 
tion, the city was on the land, and exposed to a siege, not 
on a group of unreachable islands. But more than this, the 
constitution which was so strongly built seems also to have 
inspired enthusiasm in the men who were brought up under 
it. Tlie war of Chioggia is a splendid proof of the self- 
sacrifice which at that time animated the whole Venetian 
race; a race passionately devoted to its native city, and 
at the same time supremely practical in all matters of 
business. This, if any, is the heroic period of Venetian 
history, when she was approaching the matiwity of her out- 
ward growth as a natural consequence of having already 
achieved maturity in her pohtical constitution. 


IB w»r or Chioggitt continufld on tha niainlani! by Carrara — Vonice giie» 
Tremo to the Duke of Austria— Death nt Piaani — Amttdeo of Savoy 
brings about tlie pcate of Turin^Toruis of that p««ca — The fate orOanoa 
— Admissiana to the Great Council — MicheU Mnrasini, Doge — AyUmio 
VenitT, Doge — Venetian commerce — Petrarnh's description of the port — 
OccBpation of Corfu, Scutari, Darszzo, Nauplta, Argoa— Troubles with 
Camra — Viaconti and Currara in league to deapoi! the Stala* — Visconti's 
treachery — Seizes Viceuza — Viacoiiti offers TreviBO to Venice if she will 
help to crush Carnira — Venice ouceptE — Fraucesco Cnrrara abdicates in 
favour of his son, Franctaco Novello— Vuoiee recoiera Treviso — Venetian 
policy — Her jealousy of Visconti— A lenguo against Visconti — Venice 
offers to help the Catraresi to retnm. to Padua — Adventures of Novello — 
His return to Padua — Peace of Ccnoa — Resutta for Venice — The Sultan 
Gajazet — Viaoonti again aggreasive : bin death— Effect on the relations 
betwwn Venice and Carrara — MicheU Steno, Doge — DiemembernieDt of 
Visconti's domiolaDB — Effect on Veoice and L^arrara — Carrara attacks the 
Duchess of Milan — Tries to seize Vicenza, which surrenders to Venice 
— Clash between Venice aud Carrara — War — Siege of Padua — Carrara's 
plot in Venice— Fall of Padua— The Carrareai ]jrisoncrs in Venice : 
their treatment, and death— The fall of the Carraresi luakoa Venice a 
mainland State. 

Though victorious by sea, Venice was still liard preaaed 
upon the mainland. The recapture of Chioggia and 
the surrender of the Genoese fleet, had freed her 
irom the imminent danger of seeing the Genoese admiral in 
possession of the Piazza of S. Mark. But Francesco Carrara 
still held the Trevisan marches, and was pressing the city of 
Treviso so closely that its surrender appeared to be the matter 
of only a few days. Venice, however, was determined 
that if she must lose her territory it should not be to the 
lord of Padua, whom she hated so cordially. She could not 
save Treviso, but she could thwart and mortify Carrara by 


making a present of it to some other power. And so, just 
when Francesco thought that he was about to add ^ 
this province also to his dominions, he saw, to his 
chagrin, the troops of the Duke of Austria appear upon the 
scene, and enter the beleaguered city with the consent of the 
Venetians, who had surrendered it to a distant rather than 
to a neighbouring enemy. 

All parties were weary of this long, deadly and fratri- 
cidal war. Genoa was disheartened by the loss of her 
fleet; Venice was mourning the death of her great leader, 
Vettor Pisani, who died of wounds received at Manfredonia, 
less than two months after Chioggia had surrendered; 
Carrara was disgusted at seeing Treviso slip through his 
fingers; accordingly, when, in 1381, Amadeo of 
Savoy ofifered his mediation, it was accepted. By 
the peace of Turin, Venice confirmed her renunciation of 
Dalmatia in favour of the King of Hungary ; she surrendered 
Tenedos, which had been the immediate cause of the war, 
to the Duke of Savoy ; she obtained from Carrara the resti- 
tution of the strong positions along the edge of the lagoon 
which he had fortified. These terms were not such as 
would have satisfied a victorious city. But Venice was 
not precisely victorious; she had saved the capital from 
occupation by the Genoese, but no more. She had lost 
Dalmatia and Treviso; her possessions on the mainland 
were reduced to a narrow strip of territory bordering the 
lagoon. Under these circumstances even such a peace as 
that of Turin was welcome. And Venice set herself at once 
to repairing the ravages of the Chioggian war. She did so 
in a remarkably short period, proving once again the sur- 
prising elasticity and recuperative force of her constitution. 
In the Levant she found herself virtually unopposed by her 
rival Genoa. For though Genoa cannot be said to have 
been actually destroyed by the loss of her armament at 
Chioggia, yet she now became a prey to internal party 
faction ; she deposed no less than ten Doges in four or five 
years; and finally, in 1396, she renounced her independ- 
ence, and received from Charles VI. of France, a governor, 
who ruled the Republic in the French interests. Venice 



had nolLing more to fear from Genoa. In this cliapter 
TPe shall see how she recovered and confirmed hei' 
power iu the Levant ; only, however, to find herself 
drawn closer and closer towards another and more formid- 
able foe, the Ottoman Turks. 

On the mainland the case was different, lliere Carrara 
was still powerful. Venice had learned during the war of 
Chioggia how much his hostility might cost her. She knew 
that Carrara must be crushed. But the operation was one 
of some difficulty. The combinations and coalitions of the 
continent called for a display of diplomacy as well as of force. 
The second topic of this chapter will be the explanation of 
the way in which Venice achieved her aim; how she 
cniahed out the Carraresi, and established herself upon the 
As after the revolution of Tiepolo the Eepuhlic consoli- 
dated her constitution, so after the war of Chioggia she 
coniirmed her empire in the Levant, and after the destruc- 
tion of the Carraresi she created her empire on the mainland 
of Italy. By the year 1405 Venice may be considered as 
full grown, externally and internally, She expands, it ia 
true, in the Eastern Mediterranean, and on terra, ferma : her 
constitution takes a stronger and stronger tone of its original 
hue : Europe begins to recognise the importance and the 
aplendour of the city in the lagoons; hut in essence the 
Sepuhlic had reached its maturity: as we shall find her 
at the close of this chapter, so she remains. 

On the conclusion of the peace of Turin, Venice pro- 
■ ceeded to fulfil her obligations towards those citizens who 
iliad deserved well of the State. In September 1381, the 
"Great Council elected the thirty commoners who were to be 
.admitted to the ranks of the Patriciate and to a seat in the 
Jfoffffior CoTisiijUo, as a reward of merit. Tlie great Doge, 
Andrea Contarini, died in 1382. But the work 
of recuperation was carried on by his successors, 
'Iifichele Morosiui and Antonio Venier. Chioggia was re- 
:3biiilt Trade in the Levant recovered, and spread even far 
[beyond the borders of the Mediterranean. In the Indies, 
distant Siam, the Venetians maintained a consular 



agent; the Black Sea traffic grew under tlieir hands, and' 
beyond the Straits of Gibraltar Venetian galleys 
rode in the waters of England and of Flanders. 
We have already seen how the commercial circle from 
the Levant and the East, through Venice to England, 
and back by Flanders through Venice to the Levant again, 
had been made out. At each return of peace the Venetian 
merchant knew the road he had to take, and was sure 
of finding traces of liis old commercial relations. Petrarch, 
from his windows on the Riva degli Schiavoni, command- 
ing the basin of S. Mark, has described the movement 
of the port of Venice: "From this harbour I see vessels 
departing which are as large as my house, and have masts 
taller than its towers. They are like mountains floating on 
the waters. They sail to all parts of the world, and face 
a thousand dangers, Tliey carry wine to England ; honey 
to the Scythians ; saffron, oil, linen to Assyria, Armenia 
Persia, and Arabia ; wood to Egj-pt and Greece. They 
return laden with various merchandise, which is distributed 
over all Europe. Where the sea stops their sailors quit their 
ships, and travel on to trade with India and China ; they 
cross the Caucasus and the Ganges, and reacli the Eastern 
Ocean." Such indomitable courage, enterprise, activity, aoon 
poured wealth into the treasury. The city began to extend 
rapidly in population. The Government no longer felt it 
necessary to continue facilities for obtaining Venetian citizen- 
ship, which had been introduced under the stress of plagoa 
and battle, and the ancient standard of fifteen years' reu- 
dence was enforced once more. 

This internal prosperity found its counterpart in an 
extension of territory iu the Levant. The island of Cotfo 
had been assigned to Venice after the fall of Coustantinopla 
in 1204, as part of the dominion acquired by Enrico 
Dandolo. liut the possession of the island had never been 
made good, and it was lost in 1221, By the peace of 
Turin, Venice had renounced her claim on the island of 
Tenedos, and now believed that her loss might be coimter- 
balanced if she could recover Corfu. The island was in a 
state of virtual independence, owing to the disturbed condition: 





of the Neapolitan kingdom of wliich it nominally formed 
a part. The Corfiots were aware that they could 
not maintain themselves single-handed, and were now 
casting ahout to find some power under whose protection 
they might enjoy tranqnilhty. The Venetians suggested that 
the Corfiot nobles should invite the protection of the Republic, 
and a formal act of surrender was drawn up in 1386. The 
deed was not confirmed, however, till 1402, when 
Ladislaus renounced his rights over the island for 
the sum of 30,000 ducats. This policy of su^esting to 
weak native governments that they should invite the pro- 
tection of a power that intended to absorb them if they did 
not do so, had the advantage of giving the new owners a 
sort of title, and in many cases saved bloodshed and spared 
the expenses of n war. Venice pursued this policy to her 
advantage in Epirus and Albania, where she acquired Scutari 
and DurazKO ; in the Morea, where she obtained possession 
of Naupha and Argos, and in the j^ean Sea ; and thereby 
laid a firm basis for her subsequent possession of the whole 
Peloponnesus. Her wealth, her diplomacy, her stability, were 
the instruments which she used in this rapid extension 
eastward through the Levant 

But while Venice, thanks to the effacement of Genoa, 
was adding triumph to triumph in the East, upon the main- 
land of Italy she was being called on to play a far more 
difficult and. more dangerous part The issue of the war of 
Chioggia in its mainland aspect, had filled Francesco Carrara 
■with an exa^erated conception of his own power. It is 
true that Venice had not been captured by the Genoese 
and himself, and that he had missed the possession of 
Treviao. Yet the fact remained that he had seen Venice at 
his feet suing for peace, he had been master of all her 
mainland territory. His ambition was now to be still 
further fed. Venice, in her straits, rather than yield 
Treviao to Carrara, had made the city over to the Duke of 
Austria. The Republic thought to mortify Carrara, But the 
Duke of Austria had no need for Treviso, nor for Ceneda 
and Feltre, by the cession of which Carrara had bribed him 
to let the Hungarians come through his territory during the 


war of 1373. He now sold all three cities to Franct 
Carrara. The importance of this event lay in the 
fact that Ceneda and Feltre commanded one of the 
great commercial routes into Germany, the road by Coitins 
d'Ampezzo to the rusterthal. Venice could not but see 
with alarm this important outlet for her merchandise in 
the hands of so confirmed an enemy as Francesco Carrara. 
The Eepublic, however, was not in a position, as yet, to make 
this new acquisition on the part of CaiTara a casus hefii. 
She was not happy on the mainland, where she was obliged 
to employ mercenaries ; she had no mercenary army at her 
disposal, she was still suffering from the recent effects of 
the mainland movement of the Ohioggian war ; but above 
all she knew that Carrara could not stand still ; that the 
very nature of his position would force him to expand; 
that beyond the Veronese borders was a great power, the 
Visconti, with whom he must iufalUhly come into collision, 
sooner or later ; she thought that, by waiting, events might 
serve her purpose ; that Carrara would be crushed for her, 
not by her. And Carrara's ambition pursued the course which 
Venice had foreseen. He was now lord of Padua, Treviso, 
Ceneda, Feltre. Belluno, Bassano, the whole district between 
the Alps and the lagoons ; he commanded the passes ; 
nothing remained for him to take from Venice, unless it 
were the lagoons aud the city itself. Eat the issue of the 
Chioggian war had shown him that such an object could not 
be achieved even in combination with all the naval force of 
Genoa. On the other side of his territory, however, towards 
the west, a prey lay ready to be devoured. The last of the 
Scala family, Antonio, still maintained a feeble grasp upon 
Verona and Vicenza. His possessions stood between two cs- 
pandiug and vigorous Signori — Visconti of Milan and Carrara 
of Padua. It was inevitable that he should be absorbed. In 
1387, Visconti and Carrara entered into aleague for 
the partition of the Scala territory. Visconti claimed 
Verona; Vicenza was to be added to the possessions of the lord 
of Padua. What Venice foresaw and desired now liappened ; 
Carrara, by this league with Visconti, came into immediate 
relations with the lord of Milan, a prince far abler and more 





powerful than himself, whose ambition was not likely to 
stop short at Verona, Carrara was a doomed man, 
though he did not know it 
Id accordance with their agreement, Visconti and 
Carrara attacked Antonio della Scala. The resistance was 
of the feeblest. Antonio fled down the Adige and sought 
shelter in Venice. Verona opened its gates to Gian Gale- 
azzo's general, who, instead of remaining there, pressed on to 
Vicenza, and captured the city which he held, not in the 
name of CaiTara but of his master, Visconti. Then, at last, 
Carrara understood the situation. He saw that his ally, 
the snake of the Visconti, intended to absorb him also. He 
applied to Venice in his alarm. He pointed out that the 
Republic could not aee, without anxiety, the extension of 
the Visconti territory from Milan to the borders of the 
lagoons; that Venice must, in self-defence, foi^et past 
injuries and support Padua as a bulwark between herself 
and Milan. But the emissaries of Visconti were already 
in Venice promising to give Tievieo, Ceneda, Feltre back 
to the Republic if she would assist him in cruahing 

The moment waa an important one for Venice ; and the 
choice which she made was justified, from her own 
point of view, by events, though at the time it must 
have seemed a perilous resolve. The danger of bringing 
Visconti down to the lagoons was obvious, but Venice 
believed in the impregnability of the city; she recalled the 
injury she had suffered from Carrara during the war of 
Chioggia; she remembered the plot to murder her senators ; 
she saw her way to recovering Treviao at very little cost to 
herself, and along with Treviso the important mountain passes. 
Visconti's proposals were accepted. Francesco Carrara had, 
of course, no power to resist such a combination. He took a 
step which he trusted would appease Venice, and detach her 
from her Milanese alliance. Believing that the action of 
the Republic was dictated purely by personal animus against 
himself, he resigned in favour of his son, Francesco Novello, 
and retired to Treviso. But Venice was actuated by more 
motives than one. She desired to recover Treviso quit« as 


much as to humiliate Carrara ; and so Francesco's abdica- 
tion produced no result Padua was attacked and 
fell. Venice recovered the whole of the Trevisan 
marches, and Visconti took possession of all the Padovano. 

Could Venice have kept the Carraresi as quasi-inde- 
pendent princes between herself and the Visconti, had 
such a policy been possible, it would doubtless have been 
wiser for the Republic ; it would have saved her from the 
clash with Gian Galeazzo, her subsequent extension on the 
mainland, and the disasters of Cambray implied thereby. 
But the policy was not possible. The Carraresi themselves 
would not understand the situation, from a Venetian point 
of view. They had proved this by their violent hostility 
during the Chioggian war, and again by their endeavours 
to expand, and to shut out Venice from the passes, when 
that war was over. The Carraresi would not recognise them- 
selves as dependants of Venice ; they aimed at being nothing 
less than autocratic princes. But even if the Venetians 
had succeeded in establishing such relations between them- 
selves and the lord of Padua, they could hardly have 
avoided collision with Visconti, who was aiming at a 
kingdom of North Italy; the Paduan frontier would 
virtually have been the Venetian frontier, if the Republic 
supported Carrara, and the clash must have come. The 
policy of maintaining the Carraresi was impossible. In the 
deplorable condition of the times, no course was open to 
Italian principalities but one of internecine warfare ; to kill 
or be killed was the sole alternative. 

Venetian aims in the midst of these complications are 
quite clear. She desired to recover Treviso at the least 
possible expense, but she never supposed that Visconti 
would prove a more welcome neighbour than Carrara had 
been. She trusted, however, that the rapid movement of 
Italian mainland politics would help her to checkmate 
Visconti in any attempt at further aggrandisement in her 
direction ; that the kaleidoscope of Italian diplomacy 
would soon offer a combination which would enable her to 
expel Visconti from the Padovano; and in the meantime 
she had recovered Treviso. 



Carrara's propliecy that Visconti would prove a dangerous 
neighbour, and Venetian hopes that a coalition against 
him might be formed, were both rapidly fulfilled. 
Visconti, now lord of North Italy from Milan to the lagoons, 
continued bis policy of extending his dominions southward. 
He declared war on Bologna and Florence. Venice was 
invited to join in a league against the too powerful lord of 
Milan, and complied. But she desired to avoid an open 
conflict with Visconti on the mairdand, a struggle for 
which she was in no way prepared. She adopted a surer 
and leas expensive method for expelling the Milanese from 
her borders ; she invited the Carraresi to retiirn to Padua, 
and promised her support for their enterprise. 

After the capture of Padua by Visconti, Francesco 
Carrara the elder had been interned in Monza, his son 
Novello in Asti, From Asti, Novello made his escape, 
and, in company with his young wife, Taddea d'Este, he 
crossed the Cenis, in snow, to Vienne, upon the Rhone. 
Always pursued by Visconti's emissaries, he passed down 
that river to Maraeilles ; sailed along the Riviera coast ; 
storm-tossed and sea-sick, Taddea implored to he put on 
shore, but the party had no sooner landed than they were 
ordered by the Doge of Genoa to take ship again. They 
passed along the lovely land by Nervi, Porto Fino, Porto 
Venere, Spezzia, to Pisa, near which town they disem- 
barked and hid in a wood. Gambacorta, the lord of Pisa, 
feared to show them open support, but he secretly sent 
them food and horses, and thus they reached Florence. 
Florence dared not venture to shelter them for dread of 
Visconti's anger ; Francesco received, however, money and 
provisions for his further wanderings. From Florence he 
went to Bologna, from Bologna to Ancona, from Ancona to 
Croatia, from Croatia, after incredible adventures and 
suETerings, all of which are recoimted with an admirable 
vividness in the Paduan chronicle of the Gattari, he 
reached the court of his kinsman, the Duke of Bavaria. 
From Bavaria, at the instigation of Venice, with a handful 
of German troops, he descended into the plain of FriuH, 
and made a dash at Padua. It was June, and the water in 


the Erenta bad run low ; by night, he stole up the bed ofTl 
stream, climbed the palisade and entered the town ; 
the Paduans were weary of Visconti's rule, and 
declared for Carrara r to the ery of " Carro, Carro ; Carru, 
Came" the witch of Segna's prophecy was fulfilled, " He 
who went out by the gate came in over the waU." 

This was a severe check to Gian Galeazzo, It com- 
pelled him to withdraw some of his troops from the Bolognese 
and Florentine frontiers. He was hard pressed by Sir 
John Hawkwood, who had worked his way into Lombardy. 
as far as the Adda, and was only prevented from still 
further punishing Visconti, by the imprudence of ha 
colleague, Jean d'Amiagnac. At last peace was concluded 
in 1392, and signed at Genoa by all parties, including 
Francesco Kovello Carrara, after consultation with, and 
approval from, his ally and protector, the Doge of Venice. 
By the terms of this treaty Carrara retained possession of 
Padua, for which he bound himself to pay a yearly tribute 
for fifty years to Visconti. 

The outcome of all these movementa, which terminated 
in the peace of Genoa, had been highly satisfactory tor 
the Eepublic. Without shedding a drop of her own blooil, 
and at a price very moderate for her abundant treasui)", 
she had recovered Treviso, thwarted her powerful neighbour 
Visconti, and placed in Padua a submissive and a grateful, 
not a turbulent and hostile, Carrara. 

The final settlement of the mainland question had not 
been reached, however, as yet, though a long period of 
quiet followed the peace of Genoa. Venice was living in 
harmony with Carrara ; and Visconti, held in check by the 
powerful league against him, was quietly recruiting his 
treasury and maturing his plans, before making another 
attempt to establish a kingdom of North Italy. 

But while Venice was enjoying a period of repose in 
one of her long struggles — her effort to establish herself on 
the mainland of Italy — in the East she was being brought 
face to face with another source of constant danger and 
anxiety. The Sultan Bajazet Uderim, the Thunderbolt, had 
crossed over into Europe. Leaving Constantinople on c 

.onsiauimopie on utw ,, 



side, lie had marched on to Nicopolis, where in 1396 he 
met the Hungarian army and the French contingent 
the only European powers which had responded 
to Manuel Paleologus's appeal for help. By the intoler- 
able rashness of the French, the Christian army was 
utterly defeated. Though Venice took no direct part in 
this war, except in so far aa she placed her Black Sea 
fleet at the disposal of the Christians, still the issue of 
the conflict, the virtual submission of Manuel to Bajazet, 
the erection of a mosque in Constantinople, and the estab- 
lishment of a Cadi's court in the Imperial city, all warned 
her that her ruinous action in the fourth Crusade was 
bearing its inevitable fruit, that the Roman Empire was 
tottering to its fall, and that she would soon be called upon 
to deal with a new power in Constantinople and in the 

The peace in North Italy was of short duration. Gian 
Galeazzo received the title of Duke of Milan in 1395, and 
immediately proceeded to attack his neighbour, Gonzaga of 
Mantua. This action called up against him the le^ue of 
Florence, Bologna, Carrara, and Veuice, who were still on 
good terms with each other, in face of their common enemy, 
Visconti. This new war was closed by a truce in 1398, 
followed by a peace in 1400. But no one believed in 
Visconti's pacific intentions ; and when Robert of Bavaria, 
Count Palatine, succeeded the Emperor Wenceslaus, Carrara 
and Florence invited the new Emperor to descend upon 
Italy ; to assert hia rights, as they said, against Milan, which 
pretended to hold for Wenceslaus, but really in the hope 
that he would assist them in crushing the lord of Milan. 

Robert came, with a great display of feudal force 
and German chivalry ; but he was defeated by Visconti's 
general, Dal Verme. His army dwindled away, and in a 
short time the Emperor saw himself deserted and powerless, 
in a country of which he had become the laughing-atock, 
Visconti instantly made use of his success to push forward 
his arms. He entered Bologna, and was on the jjoint of 
attacking Florence ; his army was the finest that had been 
seen in Italy for many yearn ; his treasury was full ; it was 


doubtful whether there existed any power strong enough to 
oppose his progress towards a kingdom of North 
Italy, when, in the year 1402, death came suddenly 
and cut him short m mid-career. 

The demise of Gian Galeazzo is a turning point in the 
history of the relations between Venice and the CarraresL 
Hitherto Francesco Novello had shown himself a loyal ally of 
the Republic, owing to his lively dread of being absorbed by 
Visconti But now, on Galeazzo's death, the vast Viscontean 
possessions were divided between two legitimate sons and 
a bastard — Giovanni Maria, Filippo Maria, and Gabriele 
Maria, all minors, under the regency of the Duchess of Milan. 
Her government was feeble. Each of Gian Gale€izzo's great 
generals began to help himself to some part of his late 
master's dominions. A break-up of the Visconti territory 
was at hand. This position of affairs produced a double 
effect on Venice and Carrara : it awoke the cupidity 
of both ; each resolved to obtain some share of the prey; 
while this ambition on the part of Carrara roused the 
jealousy of Venice, and at the same time gave her an 
opportunity of finally crushing the Carraresi, for whom she 
had no longer any need, now that Visconti was dead. 

Carrara proceeded to attack the Duchess. He claimed 
Vicenza, and would have liked Verona. He arrived before 
Vicenza, but the citizens showed no disposition to receive 
him. They knew too well what the rule of a personal lord 
meant for them ; they had experienced Scalas, Carraresi, and 
Visconti in turn. To them the milder and wiser rule of 
Venice seemed preferable ; and if they were compelled to 
surrender the city to any one, they resolved to consign it to 
the Eepublic. 

Meantime the Duchess had sent her ambassadors to 
Venice to implore the Government to check Carrara's advance. 
As a condition of her support Venice demanded Vicenza, 
Verona, Bassano. The danger was pressing, and the ambas- 
sadors yielded. Thus doubly armed with the voluntarj' 
surrender of the Vicentines, and the cession by the Duchess, 
the Venetians despatched a herald to Carrara, who was 
still under the walls of Vicenza, informing him of the 


state of the case, aod requesting him to withdraw. The 
brutality of Carrara's answer showed that he had 
thrown off the mask, and intended to fight the 
Kepublic if it interfered with his amhitioua progress : " Let 
us make a S. Mark's lion of the herald," he said, and caused 
the man's nose to be slit and hia ears cropped. War was 
inevitable. Venice made her preparations ; but, as she 
was too apt to do, she under-estimated at first the force 
which she would require. Kein forcemeats placed her on 
a better footing. Jacopo Carrara was shut up in Verona, 
and hia father Francesco gradually beaten out of the 
field, and forced to retire into I'adua. Then began a long 
siege, sustained with tlie greatest courage by Francesco. 
But it was a hopeless struggle. Venice could always 
throw more and more men into the Padovano and the 
Veronese, wiiile every fresh success detached Carrara's 
supporters, and left him more and more isolated. Verona 
fell ; Jacopo Carrara was sent a prisoner to Venice. 

Inside Padua the plague appeared, and famine was 
beginning to make itself felt; but with e.straordinary obstinacy 
Francesco held out. Venice, weary of the war, offered him 
terms, very favourable at first ; Carrara refused them. He 
hoped for help from Florence, though in vain. Negotiations 
were reopened. This time Venetian offers were leas favour- 
able ; again Carrara refused. The Paduans were on the point 
of rising against him, driven to desperation by plague and 
hunger; still Carrara fought on. The reason for this tenacity 
only appeared subsequently— Francesco was waiting for the 
successful issue of a great conspiracy which his emissaries 
had concerted in Venice ; but that, too, failed. The populace 
of Padua was becoming ungovernable. Tlie Venetians 
aasaulted the town on the 17 th November, scaled the 
walls, and with the help of the people entered the city. 

Francesco Carrara and his son were sent to Venice. 
The mob, recalling the story of the elder Carrara's plots, 
received the prisoners with hostile cries ; though the 
Government treated them gently at first. They were 
lodged in the island of S. Giorgio Ma^iore. Summoned to 
tha presence of the Doge, they made solemn act of 


humiliation and demanded pardon. The Doge's answer 
was far from harsh. But on the 30th November a 
change in the treatment of the captives took place. 
They were removed from S. Giorgio to a prison in the ducal 
palace. The cause for this increased severity was the dis- 
covery of the clue to a vast plot, whose ramifications seemed 
to reach some of the highest functionaries in the Stata 
The Government naturally felt alarmed. The depositions 
of some of Carrara's dependants, and the examination of his 
papers, increased the panic. On the 23rd December the 
Carraresi were placed in stricter confinement, and only 
one attendant, a fellow -prisoner, was allowed to wait on 
them. The Council of Ten sat day and night. Fresh 
revelations led to the arrest of two Venetian nobles, Pisani 
and Gradenigo. They were tried and condemned, the one 
to five years' imprisonment and confiscation of goods, the 
other to three years' imprisonment and exclusion from ofSce. 
There could be no doubt as to the reality of the plot, 
nor as to the fact that it centred in the CarraresL The 
Council proceeded rapidly with the case. The prisoners 
were condemned to be strangled in prison, and the sentence 
was executed on 17th January 1405. It is said 
that Francesco defended himself violently to the 
very end, using a prison stool as his weapon. His son 
Jacopo, of gentler temper, submitted quietly to his fate. 
When the news spread through the city, the people 
endorsed the action of the Government by crying " Omo 
morto, vera finia " — " Man dead, war over." 

Such was the end of the CarraresL They suffered the 
fate of all the lesser princes of Italy, and were crushed out 
between their two greater neighbours, Visconti and Venice. 
The downfall of their family left the Eepublic in possession 
of a large mainland territory — the Trevisan marches, Padua, 
Vicenza, Verona, and their districts, together with the high 
tableland of the Seven Communes above Bassano. The 
boundaries of the Eepublic in Italy were now, roughly 
speaking, the sea from the mouths of the Tagliamento to 
those of the Adige — the Tagliamento to the east, the Alps 
to the north, and the Adige to the west and south. This 


territory she held, with the brief exception of the wars of 
the Cambray League, undisturbed down to the fall 
of the Eepublic in 1796. Henceforward Venice 
can no longer be considered as a purely naval and com- 
mercial power, with interests centred almost entirely in the 
Levant. She now enters the comity of Italian States. She 
becomes a land power as well, with a land frontier to 
defend, with ambitious rivals beyond those frontiers, always 
ready to attack her — in short, with all the prestige, but 
also with all the difficulties and dangers, of an Italian prin- 
cipality. The centre of gravity is changed, and Venetian 
history assumes another aspect from the date of her con- 
solidation upon the mainland. 


Condition of Venice in fourteenth century — Her recuperative power — Fn 
Enrico da Rimini — Sources of wealth — Commerce — Venice different from 
all other maritime city States — Commercial circle — The sir State fleets 
— Merchant marine regulations — Merchantmen convertible into men-of- 
war — The destinations of the State fleets — Revenue — Taxation on 
import and export — Smuggling — Italian trade — German trade — Fondaoo 
dei Tedosohi — Venetian industries — Trade secrets — Glass — Metal- 
Bells — Silk — The guilds : their peculiar character in Venice — MariegoU 
— ^Taxation of guilds — Salt monopoly — Banking — Total revenue of Venice 
in the fifteenth century — House property — Expenditure — Payment of 
officials — Public ceremonies — Navy — Army — Mercenaries — Cost of a 
troop — Population — The relations between patrician and dependant, 
between government and people, paternal — Child labour — ^Doctors- 
Druggists — Riding — Nuisances — Hotels — Lacqueys de place — Luxury- 
Corruption — Dante's and Petrarch's remarks. 

At this moment in Venetian history, when the Republic had 
just achieved her fullest development, when she was 
about to add a land empire to her vast maritime sphere 
of influence, and thereby to alter the whole tenor of her 
subsequent career, it will not be amiss to pause and to sketch 
very briefly the internal aspect of Venice as a city, for such 
a review will show how very much she owed to the sea, 
and how much she was risking by turning away from it 
The first point which must strike the student of Venetian 
history in the fourteenth century, is the ease with which the 
State recovered from wars that followed each other with 
such frequency, and were often disastrous. This recupera- 
tive power implies a great resource of wealtL A contem- 
porary, Fra Enrico da Rimini, remarks of Venice that " every 
Venetian has some property of his own." How did the 
Republic acquire such vast riches ? In order to answer that 


question we must consider the sources of Venetian wealth 
under its three heads — commerce, induatries, and 
The beginnings of Venetian commerce are to be found 
in the necessity which compelled the earliest Venetian 
settlers in the lagoons to tum all their attention to the 
sea, and to the art of navigation. The position of Venice 
differed widely from that of Araalfi, Pisa, or Genoa, her 
rivals. She had absolutely no mainland territory from 
which to draw her supplies of daily life. Amalfi, Pisa, 
Genoa, though chiefly maritime cities, were still main- 
land cities as well, with a certain amount of territory 
around them. They were not therefore forced to give an 
undivided attention to seamanship. The result was that 
Venice drew ahead of these cities in naval skill ; and when 
Europe, under the Cai'olingian revival, began to demand the 
merchandise of the East, the lagoon city was move ready 
than her neigliboura to seize the profits which arose from 
the carrying trade. A similar consequence took place at 
the epoch of the Crusadea ; Venice was the Italian State 
best able to furnish transports and to reap the gains. Later 
on we have already seen how the commercial circle from 
the East through Venice to London and Flanders, and back 
again through Venice to the East, was established aud 
maintained by Venetian enterprise. In ordinary years the 
State provided for the despatch of six separate fleets with 
suitable convoys. The ships were government property, let 
out for each voyage to the highest bidder at auction. To 
these government fleets the sliipa of private owners were 
allowed to attach themselves ; and the whole squadron took 
a route, which had been carefully discussed and prescribed 
tor it, either in the Senate or in the Maggior Consu/tio. 
Every private owner, and every hirer of a government ship, 
was bound by oath to observe the instructions laid down, 
and to maintain, on all occasions, the honour of the State 
and of S. Mark. Tlie Government required its ships to he 
restored to the arsenal in good condition at the close of the 
voyage. Tiie regulations of the raerehant marine prescribed 
the number of the crew, the size of the anchors, the quality 



of the cordage, obligatory for each description of vessel 
The load-line was indicated by a cross, and govern- 
ment officials were charged to see that nr 
vessel left pott with an excessive cargo. New vesseb, 
such as we should now describe as Al, were allowed' 
to load above the line, but to a diminishing omounfe^ 
each year, for the first three years. The vessels were all 
built upon government measurement ; private individuals 
were compelled to conform to the regulation size. Two 
reasons led the Venetians to insist upon tbia uniform 
build. In the first place, ships of identical burden and rig 
would ail behave like one another under stress of weather, 
and therefore the squadrons could be kept together with 
greater ease than if each vessel were of a different build. 
Secondly, this uniformity of construction enabled the consuls 
at the various porta, whose duty it was to maintain a supply of 
refittings, masts, rudders, yards, shroiids, to meet the demand 
with certainty and accuracy. The ships were all convertible 
from merchantmen to men-of-war, and this fact helps us to 
understand how Venice was able to replace her fleets so rapidly 
after such losses as Curzola and Sapienza, The six State 
squadrons are estimated to have numbered 3300 ships, with 
crews to the amount of 36,000 men, employing in the arseusl 
16,000 workmen for their build and upkeep. In fact, the 
secret of Venetian naval supremacy, of that display of 
maritime power which impressed the world so deeply, lay 
in this, that her merchant marine and her navy were con- 
vertible ; her men-of-war were also her merchantmen, her 
seamen of the merchant service were also her sailors of the 
fleet. If the State was at war, her ships were ready ; at 
the first moment of peace her fleet resumed its commercial 
task of amassing wealth. 

These six government sq^uadrons sailed for (1) the Black 
Sea, to trade in skins; (2) for Greece and Constantinople, 
taking, as now, wood and bales of English and llandeis 
cloth ; (3) for the Syrian ports, trading in gums, spices, 
etc.; (4) for Egypt; (5) for the north coast of Africa; 
and (6) for England and Flanders. In England they 
exchanged glass, sugar, spices, silk, and wines, for tin, wool, 





hides, and broadcloth. The Venetians, in spite of their 
commercial acumen, were cheated sometimes, aa in 
England, where they had bought stitched bales of 
cloth, which, when opened, proved, after the outside web, to 
be mere shoddy. 

It will^ be seen, then, that Venetian commerce covered 
the whole of the civilised world. Venice became a great 
reservoir of merchandise, constantly filled and constantly 
emptied again, with eastern luxuries flowing west, and 
western commodities flowing east; and upon exports and 
imports alike the Venetian levied a tax which furnished a 
large part of the revenue. But the existence of customs duties 
produced its inevitable effect. There were always a certain 
number of enterprising spirits ready to run their chance of 
making a high profit by amu™liQg. The Government was 
obliged to create and maintain a flying squadron ot custom- 
house officers, armed with corselets and belly-bands of steel. 

But Venice traded not merely with East and West, 
with Syria and England. Some of the goods which were 
poured into her great emporium found their way up the 
Italian rivers to the markets of mainland cities, or over 
the mountain passes to Germany and the Sarmatian plain ; 
the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, or German Exchange House, 
became one of the most important features in Venetian 
commercial economy. To a lesser degree the city itself 
supplied a certain amount of income by its industries. 
These were carefully fostered. Artificers were forbidden to 
leave Venice; some arts, such as that of glass-making, 
were placed under the most rigid control, the secrets were 
guarded by a penalty of death ; the export of material, 
such as sand and alkali in the glass industry, and of rags in 
the paper trade, was strictly forbidden. On the other 
hand, every facility was offered to foreign workmen who 
desired to settle in Venice. They were exempt from taxa- 
tion for the first two years of their residence, provided 
they came with their families as a guarantee for their 

Among the more important 
find metal work, both in copper 

industries of Venice we 
and iron, and the art of 


bell-founding among the earliest ; even in the reign of Doge 
Orso Particiaco (880) we read that he sent a 
present of twelve bells to Basil the Emperor in 
Constantinople ; and metal work still constitutes one of the 
few industries of modem Venice. The silk trade was 
introduced from Lucca, and the Lucchese refugees were 
settled in a quarter near the Campo San Bartolomeo and 
the Calle della Bissa. Cloth of gold, wrought leather, and 
above all bead-making, glass-blowing, and the manufacture 
of mirrors, formed important branches of Venetian industry. 

The most remarkable feature in the history of Venetian 
trade is the peculiar quality which Art Guilds assumed 
in Venice. The tendency to erect guilds was carefully 
encouraged by the State, which, while allowing a laige 
amount of self-government to the corporations, alwajrs main- 
tained its own hold over them, and supervised all their 
arrangements by means of its officers, the Giustizieri and 
the Proveditori di Comun, under whose direction the guilds 
were immediately placed. The statutes of each corpora- 
tion, which were framed with the greatest care to main- 
tain the efficiency of the members and to .prevent the 
divulgence of trade secrets, were known by the name of 
the Mariegole, and were engrossed in the matriculation-book, 
whence, no doubt, that strange word is corrupted. 

The matriculation-books were open to the inspection of 
the Proveditori, and no bye-law, passed in a chapter of the 
guild, was valid till it had received the sanction of the 
government officials. Each member of a trade guild paid 
two taxes to the State, which were exacted through the 
officers of the corporation, the taglione or capitation-fee for 
belonging to the guild, and the tarisa insensibile or small 
tax upon the profits of his work each year. The Mariegok 
provided for the taxation of the guild members, for the up- 
keep of the guild funds, for the examination and admission 
of new members, for the maintenance of the decrepit^ the 
burial of the dead, the provision for widows and orphans. 
In short, the guilds were self-supporting corporations, 
which, by the excellence of their constitutions, maintained 
the high quality of Venetian manufactures, and inculcated 

the principles of thrift and insurance against sickuess and 

old age. The wealth of some of these corporations 

may be estimated by the splendour of their guild 

halts, and by the large subsidies which they were able to 

offer to the Government in times of pressure. 

But in Venice the guilds never acquired the political 
importance which they achieved in other Italian city States. 
And this again is one of the points which distinguishes the 
Republic from all other Italian communities. In Venice 
the guild — its management and its internal politics — 
served to occupy the political instincts of those citizens 
who, by the Serrata, were excluded from all share in 
the direction of the State ; but the guild never succeeded in 
controlling the State, as in Florence for example, nor did it 
ever acquire a voice in the government. The reason for this 
is probably to be found in the fact, already observed, that 
Venice never passed under the feudal system. The guilds 
in most Italian towns acquired much of their power because 
they represented and protected the popolo against the 
nobility of arms and of territory. In Venice such a 
nobility never existed ; the patrician was himself a merchant 
and probably a member of a trade guild. 

A third source of State revenue, besides the export and 
import dues, and the taxation of industries, is to be found in 
the State monopoly of salt Venice was extremely jealous 
of any interference with her rights ; and, as we have seen 
in her dealings with Carrara, was always ready to make 
any attempt to establish salt-pans a casus belli. Cassiodorus 
judged soundly when he indicated the salt monopoly as a 
more valuable source of income than gold or silver mines ; 
for " men might do without the preciouB metals, but neither 
man nor beast can live without salt." All agricultural 
operations became virtually dependent on Venice. What 
the income from the salt-pans amounted to in the fourteenth 
century we do not know, but in the year 1454 the Kepublic 
was drawing 165,000 ducats, or more than a tenth of her 
whole gross revenue, from this source. 

Finally, the Government of the Kepublic conducted a 
large banking business on its own account. The sovereigns 




of Spain and of France and the Emperor frequently ap^ 
for loans, on wliicb, no doubt, they paid a remunera- 
tive interest. We do not know what revenue the 
Republic drew from these four sources — commeree, indostr 
salt monopoly, and banking — during the fourteenth century; 
but half a century later, that is after the mainland districts 
bad been thoroughly absorbed, we find that the gross income 
of the State was 1,305,000 ducats, the cost of collecting 
225,480 ducats, net income 1,079,620. We do not 
know precisely the value a golden ducat represents in onr 
money; but if we take it aa somewhere about 15a., that 
would bring the revenue to somewhat under one million 
sterling a year. But though we have no positive indications 
as to the Venetian revenue in the fourteenth century, a 
rent-roll of 1367 sets forth the value of all house property 
in Venice for each sesticre, aud for each parish in eacli 
sestiere. The total amountis 2,880,818 ducats of gold ; aoJ 
under the stress of the Chioggian war we know that a forced 
loan of five per cent produced 6,294,040 lire for the service 
of the State. 

The chief items of Venetian expenditure were the pej- 
ment of State officials, the ceremonies of State, the navy, 
and the army. 

The salaries of officials, including the Doge's privy 
purse and his civil list, were met in this way : the sum of 
6700 lire was paid every month into the chests of the 
Procurators of S. Mark, and the ducal councillors drew upon 
it as required. An audit took place every three months. 
The expenditure upon public ceremonies was of course n 
fluctuating sum ; but the Republic was always lavish in 
this respect, aud her lavishness increased with time, till 
Venetian festivals became noted throughout the world for 
their sumptuous splendour. Even as early as 1361, we 
have seen her, at a moment of great difficulty, when she 
was on the point of losing such a rich province aa 
Dalmatia, expending no less than 10,000 ducats for the 
entertainment of the Duke of Austria ; and immediately 
afterwards, almost as large a siun upon the reception of the 
King of Cyprus. No doubt Venice considered such displays 



25 7 


diplomatic, and would have urged that in many cases the 
money was well invested. But, in addition to that, 
her people had an innate love of a show, and on the 
occasion of such a purely domestic event as the reported 
Boppression of the Caudian revolt, the expenditure was no 
less lavish. The Republic, in fact, was beginning even in 
tile fourteenth century to exhibit one of its characteristics, 
the love of splendid presentation — a passion which lasted 
long after all vital force and growing power had disappeared 
from the State. 

As r^ards the expenditure on the navy : we have seen 
how, down to the end of the fourteenth century at least, 
the navy and the merchant marine were convertible ; and 
how, owing to the system of government merchant fleets, 
the Venetian marine was, probably, to a lai^e extent self- 
supporting. Of course, in time of war the fighting crews 
had to be paid ; but it is not till Venice comes into collision 
with the Turks, and is haunted by the dread of their ascend- 
ency in the Levant, that the navy becomes a severe drain 
fia the exchequer. 

With the army, too, the case is not very different. Hither- 
to for purposes of self-defence inside the city, or for foreign 
expeditions, Venice had made use of levies among her 
citizens. It is only when she passes on to the mainland and 
iB compelled to employ mercenary troops that the tax on 
"ler resources grows serious. But we have now just reached 
icisely the period when she was about to throw herself 
W to the mainland, and to face all the financial conse- 
'.quences of continuous wars carried on chiefly with mercenary 
tox)ps. Already, when threatened by Austria in 1376, 
-the Republic had endeavoured to secure the services of 

John Hawkwood, the most famous captain of his age, 
bnt his price was thought to be too high. The Republic, 
without any territory to lose on terra femia, could at that 
time afford to bargain and might practise economy; but 
when she made herself a continental power it became 
inevitable that, some day or another, under the pressure of 
a defeat, she would be obliged to pay the price demanded 
It to forfeit her territory ; nothing but a full purse could 

• or to iorleit h( 


save her when brought face to face with all the conditions of 
mercenary warfare. It has been estimated, though 
with what accuracy is doubtful, that a troop of cavalry ^' 

numbering 300 lances cost upwards of 10,000 ducats a 
month, or 1 20,000 ducats a year — figures which show at least 
how enormously costly a war of this nature must have been. 
If we may judge from the levy of men made for active 
service in 1336, the population of Venice appears to 
have been about 200,000 souls; of whom perhaps 
1000 belonged to the patrician caste. The idea of the 
relation between patrician and plebeian, between governing 
and governed, in the intimacy of daily life, and in the 
internal economy of the city, was a paternal idea. The 
great noble was surrounded by a number of clients, 
dependants, who lived in smaller houses clustering round 
the patron's palace, and whose relations with their patron 
were often very familiar. A nobleman frequently stood 
sponsor for a client's child ; and the lien of compare dt 
ziian was a strong one. The same conception animated 
the Government. It aimed at being the father of the 
whole of its citizens. It interfered to protect child labour, 
as in the looking-glass trade, where we find a law de- 
claring that boys and girls are on no account to work 
with mercury or lead, and to check dangerous over- 
loading on shipboard ; it supplied medical advice gratis to 
the poor. Venetian physicians were bound to attend a 
course of anatomy once a year, and to meet every month 
for the exhibition and discussion of diflBcult cases. The 
druggists* shops were under the surveillance of Government 
ofiScials. The doctor was bound by oath to warn his patient 
early in his conduct of the case if he considered it a serious 
one, so as to allow the sick to set their minds at ease about 
their worldly goods and their consciences about their future 
state. Severe police regulations prohibited nobles from reck- 
less riding through the narrow streets to the danger of the 
foot passengers. All horses were obliged to carry bells on 
their collars; and these provisions continued till the in- 
creasing population and the introduction of stone bridges 
with steps rendered riding altogether impossible. PubUc 


nuisances, such as noxious smoke, were suppressed. Hotels 
received a regular inspection, to ensure the decency 
of the company and the cleanliness of the house. 
The more famous hostelries of the fourteenth century ■were 
the Luna, the Leon Bianco, and the Salvadego. Tlie Govern- 
ment supplied a service of lacqueys de -place called tholomagi, 
for the benefit of strangers; they were bound by oath to 
conduct the foreigner to a good inn, to make a fair bai^n 
for him, to see that he was not cheated by shopkeepers or 
shipowners. Whether they kept their oath we do not know. 
In short, no efforts were spared to make life pleasant in 
Venice of the fourteenth century, and to lay the foundation 
of that great trade in foreigners which has always remained 
one of her most remarkable characteristics. 

But with this geueral and diffused wellheing in the 
middle and lower classes, came luxury and riot in the 
upper. The young men of the company of the Hose, 
who look so engaging and so free as they figure in Kellini'e 
pictures, kept the town in a frequent state of uproar. A 
favourite pastime was to tie a cord to the neck of a large 
hound and to run liim down the narrow streets, sweeping 
the people before them. The insolence of these young 
nobles is shown by the episode of Michel Steno and the Doge 
Falier ; or still more vividly in the case of Doge Venier's 
young son, who fastened to a patrician's door, one night, a 
bunch of coral charms of curious form and opprobrious 
flignificance. The Government was not remiss in the punish- 
ment of these wild bloods ; but it never quite succeeded in 
gettiug the better of their spirits. The city was comfortable, 
but it was corrupt. Two outside witnesses bear testimony 
<to this — Dante with hia scathing phrase about U fango 
della loro sfrenata lasdvia; Petrarch with his horror of 
iheii' intellectual scepticism and contempt for all " who 
worship not tlie Stagj-rite or who still believe the fables of 
Christiauity and those asses' tales of Heaven and of Hell." 

Such was the condition of Venice when she waa called 
upon to enter a new phase of her existence, in which the 
ascendant curve of her parabola is completed, her primal 
vitality exhausted, and her declension begun. 


A new epoch in Venetian history : its characteristics — Could Venice have 
avoided her passage to the mainland ? — Could she have made a really 
powerful mainland State ? — Venice consolidates her new land empire— 
The ceremony of surrender of Verona and Padua — The schism — PodtioD 
of Venice towards the Curia — Supports the conciliar principle — ^Venice 
represented at Constance — ^The end of the schism — Burning of Hubs— 
Recovery of Dalmatia : bought from Ladislaus — Sigismond'a claim- 
Conspiracies in Padua and Verona — Sigismund's general, Filippo Scolari,in 
Friuli : his character — ^Undecided operations — Balduino*8 plot in Venice 
— Scolari at S. Nicolo del Lido — ^Venetian victory at La Motta — Cost of the 
war strains Venetian funds — Additional taxation — ^TrucewithSigismund-' 
National debt — Tommaso Mbeenigo, Doge — ^The last Doge elected by 
popular consent — Abolition of the Doge's right to summon the Arengo— 
Restrictions on ducal authority — Death of Bajazet — Affairs of Constan- 
tinople — Venice makes a treaty with the Turks — Mahomet, his fleet— 
Hostile to Venice — Battle of Gallipoli — Pietro Loredano's despatch- 
Peace — War with Sigismund — Filippo Maria Visconti — Venetian success 
— Conquers Friuli — Carmagnola — Florence alarmed at Visconti's progress 
— Proposes an alliance with Venice — Importance of this invitation — Two 
parties in Venice — Francesco Foscari and Tommaso Mocenigo — Unfavour- 
able answer to the Florentines — Mocenigo's speech — His deathbed 
warning — Death of the Doge. 

We have reached a new epoch in Venetian history ; we are 
about to enter upon the second great period in the 
life of the State. Down to the year 1405 it is the ^' 
growth of Venice which has occupied our attention. By 
the Serrata del Maggior Consifflio, by the conspiracy of 
Tiepolo, by the defeat of Genoa, and by the acquisition of 
Padua, Verona, and Treviso, the Republic had completed 
the period of her making. This second period, the years 
between 1405 and 1540, will show us the marring of 
Venice by circumstances which she was poweriess to control, 


tut which she herself had largely helped to create hy 
her previous action. During thia century and a half, 
the Kepiiblic began by increasing her territory to 
3 surprising extent. There was an astonishing burst, as it 
were of a flower into full bloom. In the Levant, on the 
Adriatic seaboard, on the mainland of Italy, her power and 
the development of her dominions, aroused the surprise and 
the jealousy of Italian States, and claimed the attention and 
the respect of Europe. Never before had Venice occupied such 
a high position in the eyes of the world. But this splendid 
achievement was the result of her past efforts, the flnal fruit 
of her growth, the outcome of her early vitality, which 
appears to have really exhausted itself in the long process of 
creating the State. Before tliis second period was half-way 
through, symptoms of decline made themselves felt, and by 
■the close of the epoch Venice had fallen from her high rank 
'to a third-rate place among the powers of Europe, with 
whom she has for the future to be measured. For it is now 
■no longer a question of comparing the Republic with Genoa or 
Pisa, with Viaconti or d'Eate ; by passing on to the main- 
land, and by the extraordinarily high position which she 
Achieved for herself during the larger part of the fifteenth 
century, Venice entered the comity of European States, and 
it is with France, with Spain, with Austria, that the com- 
■parison must be made. The point of view from which 
we must henceforth regard the Republic is changed, the 
ibcus shifted. We have said good-bye to the old Venice of 
merchant venturers, the Venice of Enrico Dandolo, of Marco 
Polo, of the Zenos, the Pisanis, whose Ufe was on the sea, 
id whose interests looked east. We are coming now to 
Venice stm^Iing to he a power in Western Europe, 
exhausting herself on the mainland with mercenary armies 
and captains of adventure ; the Venice of Francesco Foscari ; 
the Venice which, in her inherent weakness, endeavoured to 
maintain her position by elaborate'diplomacy ; the Venice of 
the ambassadors,of Lippomano,of Panita; the Venice of Paolo 
,rpi ; sceptical, genial, opportunist, because of her weak- 
iss, because she was struggling to accomphsh a task beyond 
powers and instinctively felt herself doomed to failure. 


If it be at all permissible to discuss the spiritual com- 
plexion of a whole people, such would seem to have 
been the mental attitude of Venice during the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries. The Venetians themselves 
may very likely have been unconscious of the true state of the 
case ; they probably believed in the destiny of their race 
to continue a growth which, in its extraordinary rapidity, 
must have dazzled their own eyes as well as those of their 
neighbours. But the instinct of the people, the informal 
consciousness, cannot have failed to cause occasional pangs, 
such as found expression in Tommaso Mocenigo's deathbed 
warning, when it endeavoured, in the performance of its 
self-preservative function, to rouse a sense of the danger 
which was patent in the external facts of circumstance. 
And it is with these external circumstances that we have 
now to deal 

To help her through this period Venice possessed one 
great element of strength inside herself, the solidity of her 
constitution, and the affection inspired by a government 
which was essentially humane. Externally the Republic 
was kept in a state of abnormal activity by two factors inti- 
mately connected with her dual position in East and West: 
bound up with her interests in the Levant the Turk was a 
permanent menace ; as the result of her mainland extension 
she could not long avoid a collision with Visconti. 

But before resuming the narrative thread of Venetian 
history, two questions suggest themselves for answer. 
Could Venice have maintained herself as a purely com- 
mercial state, or was her step upon the mainland a necessity 
which she could not avoid ? It was not beyond the bounds 
of possibility that the Republic might have left Italian and 
European politics alone, and have devoted herself entirely 
to commerce. Experience had proved that the city was 
virtually impregnable. The one condition necessary for the 
success of such a policy was the absolute and undisputed 
supremacy of the Republic at sea. Without a provision- 
yielding district at her back, any maritime reverse rendered 
Venice liable to blockade and starvation. It is doubtful 
whether Venice, wealthy as she was, could have maintained 


an absolute mastery of the sea; Genoa and she together 
might liave held the Turk in check ; but she had 
crushed Genoa, and had now to pay the price ; and it 
was certain that, commercial as she was, she woiild do any- 
thing rather than spend the enormous sums necessary to secure 
that supremacy, unless compelled to do so by the most violent 
!. Aa a matter of fact, in her relatione with the 
Turk she was constantly endeavouring to arrange a friendly 
commercial understanding, rather than to exliaust herself 
by continual hostility. Her instinct was to trade with the 
Turks, uot to fight them. But she was a Christian State, 

e at least, and she could not carry this policy too far ^ 
without raising an outcry against her in other Christian 
States which, while preventing her from cementing friendly 
relations with the Mussulman power, refused to assist her 
with arms in attacking it. Indeed, the dubious relations 
between the Republic and the Turk awoke much of that 
European hostility towards Venice wliich found vent in 
the League of Cambray. There was another 'consideration, 
Jiowever, which rendered it diSicull for Venice to avoid 
acquiring mainland territory ; that was the question of the 
Had the mainland to the foot of the Alps and 
the passes over the Alps into Germany been in the hands 
of a power other than Venice, that power would, even in 
times of peace, indubitably have reaped a large share of 
Venetian commercial profits by imposing taxes for transit ; 
and in time of war would have been able to check Venetian 
<land traffic entirely. It seems, then, that it was hardly 
possible for Venice to have avoided occupying mainland 
territory- — -first, because she could uot, or would not, maintain 
1 fleet sufficiently strong to render her independent of it ; 
secondly, because the possession of the passes was essential 
Fto her commerce. When once engaged upon the mainland, 
frontier open to attack rendered her no longer inde- 
{tendent and mistress of her own actions, while a frontier to 
3 defended exhausted her treasury, and prevented her from 
r developing to the full her naval power, upon which she 
Really relied, not only for her position in Europe, but also 
r her very life. 


The secood question, intimately connected with the firsts I 
is this : having once embarked upon a land empire, 
could Venice have created a truly powerful mainland 
state ? one which would have acted in concert with her naTBl J 
forces, helping, not hampering her. The condition in thial 
case, b the possession of a good frontier. But the plain <£M 
North Italy presents no frontiers at all, till the Alps and T 
Apennines are reached. Had Venice been able to absorb I 
Milan, Piedmonte, Bologna, and Ferrara, she would then have 
been mistress of a territory sufficiently extended to he an j 
assistance, whose frontiers, roughly speaking, would have been I 
the Alps, the Apennines, and the Adriatic ; with the sea all ) 
her own, and North Italy in her power, the Republic would j 
then have been undoubtedly tlie most formidable State in I 
Italy, a menace to the balance of power upon which other j 
Italian states depended for their existence. Her enemies at I 
the time of the League of Cambray declared that she intended j 
and was able to accomplish this task. But the creation of j 
such a dominion was absolutely impossible. The next chapter i 
will abundantly prove that Venice possessed no army capable I 
of defeating and despoiUng Visconti, and she could not I 
reach him from the sea. But more than this, even had she | 
reduced Visconti and occupied Milan, the French claim to j 
the Milanese bad already been established, and Venice would j 
have found herself face to face with France. Any attempt J 
to absorb Bologna or Ferrara to tlic south would hav«|l 
produced a coalition of other Italian States against her ; and^ 
the dominions of the Church barred any further development 
in that direction. It was impossible for Venice to create a 
great land empire, just as it was impossible for her to avoid the 
effort to do so. Her inability to achieve her object, and her 
desire to preserve what she already possessed, forced the 
Republic, in her weakness, to fall back upon diplomacy. It 
was during this period that her politicians learned, and pat 
into practice, those theories of the balance of power which j 
became traditional among Venetian statesmen. Without I 
sufficient and trustworthy armies at her back, there was no j 
other way of preserving her Veronese frontier than by playing J 
Florence against Visconti, and, later on, France against Spain. .1 


The compiilsion whicli drove Venice ou to the mainland ; the 
impotence which prevented her from forming a strong 
dominion tliere; her double contest with the Turks 
by sea and the Visconti and Sforza on the continent ; the ex- 
haustion wliich resulted from her efforts to maintain her weak 
position ; the diplomatic adroitness with which she endeavoured 
to cover her lack of force, form the tlieme of Venetian history 
during _this second great period, and constitute what may, 
perhaps, he called the tragedy of the race. The following 
chapter begins the long series of demonstrations which lead 
up to the League of Cambray on the one hand, and to the 
victories of Sultan Suleiman, to the conq^uest of Rhodes 
and tlie Morea, on the other ; while side by side with these 
disasters came the discovery of the Cape. of Good Hope, an 
accidental event, for which Venice was in no way responsible, 
but which delivered a deathblow to the State — cutting the 
tap-roots of her commerce, altering the high-road of traffic 
from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, throwing the trade 
line of the world beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, into the 
hands of the I'ortuguese, the English, acd the Dutch. 

When Venice, by the fall of tlie Carraresi, came into 
possession of Padua, Vicenza, and Verona, her first care was 
to provide for the good government of those provinces. As 
we have already noted in the case of IVeviso, her earliest 
land possession, the principle pursued by the Eepublic was 
to retain as much of local self-government as she held to be 
compatible with the security of her tenure, and the supremacy 
of Venice as a capital She interfered as little as possible 
with existing local institutions, which, in most cases, were 
the remains of the old Koman municipal constitutions. 
The Repubhc considered that her objects-were attained by 
the establishment of a civil and of a military governor with 
their respective suites. Both of these officials were in 
immediate relations with the home executive, to whom they 
reported and from whom they received orders. But in all 
cases the Rector, or civil governor, was bound to swear that he 
would respect the ancient civic constitution of the city he 
was called upon to rule ; and in some cases, as at Vicenza for 
:ample, the Venetians allowed the citizens to elect a body 


of eighteen, with ilie right to ceusure the Rector's coDduc6-f 
where he had violated the antique statutes. Local 
affairs at Vicenza were managed hya council of five 
hundred citizens, an institution already in existence, to whid 
Venice was able to give some semblance of her own Ma% 
Connglio by maldng it the body wliich elected to all thfiw 
oflSces of the commune, and which passed the laws pro-'¥ 
posed to it by a smaller council of one hundred member^ J 
among whom were numbered the heads of the trade goilda. J 
In the courts of justice the Rector, or one of his three I 
assessors, merely presided ; he did not constitute the court, 1 
which was composed of Vicentine citizens. Provision \ 
made for the gratuitous defence of poor respondents, -^tl 
Verona, where thu immediate rule of the Scaligers had brokeal 
down more of the mnuicipal independence than in Vicenai,] 
the Venetians were able to construct a somewhat less demo- 1 
cratic form of government There the governing couiual ] 
consisted of fifty members, with an executive and initiative | 
body of twelve. Provision was made for piibUc instruction I 
in the humanities, in canon and civil law, in medicine, to j 
which the Republic always paid great attention ; primaiy I 
education, equivalent to grammar schools, was supplied bj ] 
what were called schools of arithmetic. The cost of main- - 
taining this educational system was charged upon the I 
revenues of the province. 

Towards Padua, the richest of her new acquisitionfl^ ] 
Venice displayed a slightly different temper. She 
it more, and she charged it more. Half the salary of the 
Rector was defrayed by the local revenue. But, on the 
other hand, she renounced the whole of the wheel-tax to 
the commune for the upkeep of roads and of the public 
palace ; and when that building was destroyed by fire the 
Republic rebuilt it at her own sole charges. She assigned 
4000 ducats a year and a part of the octroi duties for the 
support of the professorial body in the Paduan University, I 
She protected Paduan wine from foreign competition. Above ' 
all, immediately after the conclusion of the long and deso- I 
Iftting siege, she supplied seed to the Paduan peasants to , 
reaow their ruined fields, and she opened in the city a clab i 


house, where, as she expressed it, Venetian and Paduan 
gentlemen might meet and come to know each other. 
The poUcy of the Eepiiblic in dealing with her main- 
land poaaessions was to reproduce as far aa possible the 
institutions of the capital city, without offending local senti- 
ment What she really retained for herself through the agency 
of her government officers, the Rector and the Captain, was 
this : police, taxation for the fisc, and levies for the army. 
The Hector and the Captain were in immediate communica- 
tion with the Council of Ten and with the Senate, from 
whom, as regards police, fisc, and levies, they received orders 
which were paramount. All else was left to the local 
councils presided over and directed, but not commanded, 
by the officials of the supreme government. 

In fact, the rule of Venice over her new possessions was 
just, lenient, and wise. She had set herself, in her own 
words, to provide taliter quod fiabeamvs cor et amor em. 
eivium et suiditorjtin nostrorum, that we may have the heart 
and the affection of our citizens and subjects ; and she had 
them. The people were content ; they acquired now what 
they had long been seeking in vain at the hands of a local 
lord, a Carrara, a Scala, or a Visconti — peace and good govern- 
ment. Only the nobles were disaffected under a rule which 
deprived tliem of the power to tyrannise. Venice reaped 
her reward in the trying times when, after the wars of the 
league of Cambray had shattered her forces, her subject states 
returned of their own accord to the protection of S. Mark. 
The formal ceremonies for the dedition of Verona 
and of Padua took place in 1406. Both were 
conducted with great pomp. The Doge, the College, 
and the Senate, seated on a platform in front of S. Mark's, 
received the Veronese delegates, who were clothed in 
white and mounted on horses with white trappings. They 
advanced from the far end of the piazza, and on nearing the 
ducal throne they dismounted. They oS'ered to the Doge 
the symbols of submission, the keys of the city gates, a 
long white staff, the emblem of government, the banner of 
■ the people and the banner of the commune. The Doge 
k accepted the offerings with the remark, "The people that 


walked in darkness have seen a great light," The Grand 
Chancellor administered the oath of allegiance, and , 

the delegates received from the Doge the crimson 
standard of S. Mark with the winged lion blazoned in gold, 
A similar ritual was obser\'ed in the case of Padua ; upon 
whose citizens, however, Venice swore that she would impose 
no new taxes. 

The Republic had hardly completed the arrangement of 
her new possessions, when external affaiis called for attention. 
The Church at this period was still divided by the great 
schism; Benedict XIII., supported by Spain, continued to 
claim allegiance as the true head of the Church. Venice 
had hitherto stood as far aloof as possible from all ecclesi- 
astic quarrels ; she desired to abstain from any action which 
might involve her in those troublesome and infinit* dis- 
sensions. But an event now took place which compelled 
her to join in the dispute, aud thereby forced her to declare 
her attitude towards ecclesiastical politics, an attitude 
which it is important to observe, as she constantly main- 
tained it throughout her career. In the year 1406 a 
Venetian, Angelo Correr, was elected Pope in Eorae, under 
the title of Gregory XII. Gregory endeavoured to come to 
an understanding with Benedict, tlie antipope, in order, if 
possible, to end the schism. A meeting was arranged to 
take place at Savona. But Ladislaus, King of Naples, 
fearing that some advantage might accrue to the house of 
Anjou from this meetiDg, resolved to prevent it. He entered 
Borne, and Gregory was forced to retire to Viterbo and 
then to Siena. The scliism became more hopeless than 
ever, for now neither claimant to S. Peter's chair was 
in possession of Rome. In 1409, a general council at 
Pisa deposed both popes and elected another Venetian 
subject, Pietro Filargo of Crete, who assumed the name 
of Alexander V. ; and the question now presented itself 
to Venice, what course should she follow ? Angelo Correr 
had already aaked for an asylum in his native city, and 
expected the support of the Government ; while, on the other 
hand, ambassadors from England, France, and Biirgimdy 
were in Venice, imploring the Republic to support the 




■ eonciliar Pope, Alexander, aud thus to assist in closing the 

schism. There was a hot dehate in the Senate. 

The Doge wished to recognise Alexander, and his 

motion was carried hy 79 votes against 48. Veuice recognised 

the Pope elected by the Council of Pisa. 

This act was a distinct declaration of ecclesiastical policy, 
doubtless the right policy for the Eepublic. Aa a temporal 
power, Venice, along with France, the Emperor, and other 
temporal princes, was concerned to resist the claims of the 
Soman Curia, and to support the eonciliar principle that general 
councils are superior to popes, from whom may lie an appeal 
to a future council. To this fundamental line of ecclesiastical 
policy, declared now for the first time by the Eepublic, Venice 
adhered throughout all her many disputes with Rome. 

Meanwhile Alexander died in 1410, and was succeeded, 
as Pisan Pope, by that vigorous soldier and bandit, Ealdassare 
Cossa, John XXIII. But the schism continued. There 
were still three popes, Benedict XI 1 1., Gregory XII., and 
John XXIII. At last the Emperor Sigismund summoned 
the Council of Constance in 1414, to put an end to 
this intolerable state of affairs. Venice sent three 
cardinals, Barbarigo, Oondulmer, and Morosini, who, in her 
name, solemnly pledged the Eepublic to abide by the 
decision of the Council ; thus affirming over £^in the line 
of ecclesiastical policy which she had already adopted. 
Benedict and Gregory were represented at the Council. 
John was present in person. As be crossed the Vorarlberg 
to reach Constance, bis carriage was overturned by the road- 
side, and the Pope swore like the trooper that he was. 
When he came in sight of the city he grimly remarked, " A 
trap to catch foxes." He soon suspected that his life was in 
danger, and fled. He was then solemnly deposed ; so were 
Benedict and Gregory. Otto Colonna was elected Pope as 
Martin V., recognised hy the powers, aud the great schism cume 
to an end- But for Venice the Council of Constance had 
another most important issue, which we shall presently find 
bearing its fruit. The burning of Huss involved the Em- 
|)eror Sigismund in a long religious war with the Bohemians, 
id hampered his actions to such an extent that he was 


unable to attack Venice effectively in Frinli and Dalmatia, 

unable to support the Patriarch of Aquileia against 

the Eepublic, unable to prevent her from acquiring 

the whole north-east corner of the Venetian plain as the 

outcome of the wars which we have now to follow. 

Venetian successes on the mainland, the acquisition of 
Padua, Vicenza, and Verona, had been followed by a further 
triumph, the recovery of Dalmatia, which Ladislaus, unable 
to resist Sigismund's Hungarian claims, had sold to 
the Eepublic. But when Ladislaus sold his claims 
he also sold his quarrel. Venice very soon found that 
Sigismund did not intend to allow her to retain undisturbed 
possession of a province which he considered as his own in 
virtue of the Hungarian crown. Sigismund was encouraged 
in his hostility to Venice by the presence at his court of 
Marsilio Carrara and Brunoro della Scala, the last remnants 
of those two great houses whose territories the Eepublic now 
enjoyed. Scala and Carrara both assured Sigismund that they 
were able to assist him by creating revolutionary risings in 
Padua and Verona among the nobles who still remained 
attached to their ancient lords, or who at least detested the 
strong government of Venice. As a matter of fact, con- 
spiracies were hatched in both cities. In Padua the plot 
was easily discovered and vigorously crushed. In Verona a 
rising actually took place, but the answer to the cry of Viva la 
Scala was cold ; the cry Viva San Marco was at once taken 
up by the people, who already, in these few years of 
Venetian rule, had learned to appreciate the benelSts of a 
good government, and declined to pass once more under the 
tyranny of a Scala. Sigismund's preparations for war con- 
tinued. His army, composed of 12,000 cavalry and 8000 
infantry, was already in Friuli under the command of his 
general, Filippo degli Scolari, called Pippo Span, or Pip the 
Captain. Pippo was a most brilliant cavalry ofi&cer, a person of 
extraordinary fascination, young, beautiful, of medium height, 
perfectly formed, with dark eyes, a fair complexion, and a 
radiant smile : he was devotedly fond of magnilScent dress : 
no less accomplished in mind than remarkable in his person, 
he spoke besides his native Tuscan, Hungarian, Polish, German, 


E'ttnd Bohemiau : bis liabit of life M'as extremely abstemious : 
one of those officers like Charles Morclaunt, Earl 
of Peterborough, Geueral Custer, or General Skobe- 
[ leff, iu later times, whom the cavalry arm seems best able 
\ to produce : made to be the darling of their men : dearly 
I beloved, aud usually unsuccessfuL 

When Pippo arrived in Friuli at the head of hia brilliant 
I Hungarian cavalry, Venice was far from ready for war. She 
endeavoured to pacify, or at least to delay, Sigismund by 
negotiations. She offered to hold Dalmatia n& a fief of the 
Hungarian crown, at a yearly fine of a white horae and a 
web of gold cloth. But Sigisnmnd would not listen to any 
I. Meantime Pippo was pressing on through the Trevi- 
gano; Feltre and Belluno opened their gates to him, and 
Brunoro della Scala was established there as Imperial 
Vicar. At last the Venetian army under Carlo 
Malatesta took the field, and after an indecisive battle at 
La Motta di Livenza, Pippo determined to return to Hungary 
to collect more troops, as his present army had suffei-ed 
considerably aud was insuflicieDt to secure the defeat of the 

During this pause in the war, Venice was exposed to an 
internal danger. A certain Francesco Balduino — a man of 
wealth and position, but ambitious of entering the noble 
caste, from which he saw Iiimself excluded, in spite of his 
own belief that he had merited this honour after the war of 
jgia — by continually brooding over his wrongs, arrived at 
the mad resolve to compass the overthrow of the Govem- 
t by assassinating the leading members of the Council of 
Ten. One day, as he was walking near the Frari Church, 
he met a friend, Bartolomeo d'Anselmo. whom he believed 
to share his hatred of the noble caste. To Anselmo, Bal- 
duino communicated his plans, and received promises of help. 
The following Sunday, 6th March 1412, was the 
day selected for the execution of the scheme. The 
{riends separated, but Anselmo had not gone very far before 
lie was seized with alarm at the thought of the risk he was 
mnnjng. If the converaation liaJ been overheard he knew 
l^iat he was doomed to torture and death. Before he reached 


hi3 own house his terror hecame so unendurable that 

resolved to betray Balduino to the Council He 

did so. Balduino was arrested, and ou Saturday, 

5th March, was hanged between the two red columns of the 

loggia in the ducal palace. 

Early in 1 4 1 2 Pippo waa back again in the Venetian plain. 
He even, with his accustomed audacity, ventured upon rafts, 
by night, as far as San Nicolo del Lido, surprised the guards, 
and ravaged the cultivated fields ; but Venice was ronsed by 
the sound of S. Mark's bell ; the people nished to arms, anil 
Pippo, with his handful of Hungarians, retired. In August 
of the same year he was thoroughly defeated at La Motta by 
the Venetians under Pietro Loredano and Malatesta. 

The war was becoming an intolerable burden to 
parties ; the Hiuigariaus might hold Friuli and the Trevii 
but tliey could not reduce Venice itself; while, on the 
other hand, the Venetian land army was not strong enough 
to sweep the enemy from so wide a plain. The struggle 
resembled the contest of the dog and the shark ; neither 
could get at the other. There seemed no reason why it 
should ever end. But the finances of the Republic were 
beginning to crack. The war was costing 50,000 ducals a 
month ; Treviso and its district were yielding nothing to the 
exchequer. The Government found itself obliged to impose o 
property tax of 10 per cent, and the unpopularity of this step 
showed them that it was time to bring the campaigu to an end. 
Tomniaso Mocenigo and Antonio Contarini were sent on an 
embassy to the Emperor, As Mocenigo crossed the mainland 
districts, ravaged by foreign troops, he received an object lesson 
in the consequences, for the Republic, of a land war— a lesson 
which he inwardly digested, and embodied later on in his 
famous deathbed recommendations to his couutTymen. 

A truce, not a peace, for Sigismund would not abandon 
Dalmatia, was concluded in 1413, and Venice immediately 
set to work to repair her shattered finances. She 
appointed a commission of ten nobles for the reduction 
of public burdens and for the extinction of the debt 
incurred by the war. In order to raise funds for this 
purpose, the commissioners increased the tax on all broken 

on all broke^i| 


or middle-men ; they sold some portion of the property of 

the State, and they appropriated the income derived 

from the salt trade with the mainland. In the 

next ten years we know that Venice paid off 4,000,000 

ducats out of a national debt of 10,000,000. 

Tommaso Mocenigo was still at the Imperial Court 
endeavouring to negotiate a peace when the news of 
his election reached him. His reign represents the 
very end of the old order in Venice. He was the laat 
Doge whose election received the formal sanction of the 
people. For long the ceremonial act of consulting the 
people by the formula " This is your Doge, an it pleaae 
you," had lost all real significance ; it was a dead letter ; 
now it drops off, and the next Doge, Francesco Foscari, is 
presented to the people of Venice as " your Doge," whether 
it please you or not The oligarchy had finally achieved its 
supremacy, not merely in fact, but also in form. And the 
promissione of the Doge Tommaso Mocenigo bears further 
proofs of this change. The Doge was deprived of his right 
to summon the Condo or Arengo, the general meeting of all 
Venetian citizens ; this step merely preluded that legislation 
which was about to deprive the Arcngo of any voice in the 
election of the chief magistrate. The Doge was also for- 
bidden to display his family arms anywliere except inside 
the ducal palace. Finally, it was open to any two of the 
three Avogadori to impeach the Doge for any action which 
they considered a violation of the constitution. 

This legislation was brought about by an episode in 
the life of the late Doge, the impetuous Michel Steno. 
In the year 1410 Donato Michiel had moved to cancel 
a resolution of the Maijgior Cimsiglw, and upon this the 
Aix>gadori proposed to indite Michiel for an infringement 
of the law. The Doge opposed the motion of the Avoga- 
dori, and they declared that, by the terms of his corona- 
tion oath, he had no power to do so, unless his action 
were sanctioned by four out of the six Conaiglitri. Steno, 
however, continued his arguments, whereupon two ducal 
councillors and one chief of the Supreme Court rose and 
aaid, " May it please your Serenity to sit down, and hold 


your tongue, and to allow the Avogadori to do their duty." 
The Doge found support from two other councillors 
who were present, and continued his attack. The 
Avogadori declared his Serenity suspended, and threatened 
him with a fine of 1000 lire and a citation before the Ten. 
The Doge refused to give way and completed his speech. 
The matter remained in suspense, but the Doge would not 
allow it to continue thus. He insisted that the Avogadori 
should either inflict the fine, and proceed with the impeach- 
ment, or should formally withdraw. The Avogadori availed 
themselves of a quibble, and signed a formal act declaring 
that the Doge was within his rights in addressing the 
Council, as they had never really intended to indite Donate 
MichieL There the matter ended; but on the accession of 
Tommaso Mocenigo care was taken that no Doge should be 
able for the future so to override the officers of the EepubUc. 

The reign of Mocenigo was remarkable on three accounts. 
It witnessed the first brush between Venice and the Turks ; 
it saw the satisfactory conclusion of the war with Sigismund 
and the acquisition of Friuli; and it covered the opening 
moves in the long struggle with Visconti, which was to 
occupy so much of the following Dogeship. Conflicts with 
the Ottoman power in the Levant, extension on the mainland 
of Italy and the consequences entailed thereby, the two 
main threads of Venetian history, both are illustrated in 
this reign. 

On the death of Bajazet I. in 1403 the Ottoman power 
was torn and weakened by the quarrels among his sons, 
Suleiman, Musa, and Mohammed. Manuel, the Emperor in 
Constantinople, could do nothing to profit by this fratricidal 
contest ; he merely allied himself first with one and then 
with another of the brothers, against the strongest for the 
time being. The Venetians, too, in their anxiety for their 
Levantine commerce, followed a similar policy. But Sulei- 
man died, Musa was killed, and Mohammed concentrated 
the whole Ottoman power in his own person. Through her 
ambassador, Francesco Foscari, Venice signed a treaty with 
the victorious Turk, which she believed would secure all her 
extensive colonies from molestation. 




Mobammed, however, was not long in creatiug a fleet 
with which he proceeded to harass tlie independent 
Christiana of the Archipelago. The Turks followed 
np some Venetian merchantmen who were returning from 
Trebisond, ran them into Negropont, and threatened the 
town. Pietro Loredano, the Venetian admiral in those 
waters, desired to come to a parley with the Turkish 
admiral in the port of Gollipoli. But while the admirals 
were discussing, the two fleets had already engaged, and a 
battle waa unavoidable. Loredano himself describes 
the engagement in a despatch, dated Tenedos, 2nd 
June 1416. " I, the commander," he says, " battling like a 
man, attacked the first galley, which defended itself with 
great courage, for the Turks are well found, very vigorous, 
and fight like dragons. By God's grace I took Iier and cut 
most of the Turks to pieces. But it cost me much to save 
the prize, for other galleys bore down upon my stem, on the 
left-hand side, and raked me with arrows and darts ; and I 
felt them, T can assure you, for I was wounded in the left 
cheek, just under the eye, by a dart that passed through my 
cheek and nose. Another passed right through and through 
my left hand ; these wounds were serious ; I was wounded, 
too, about the body, and in the right hand, but these were 
of no eonseq_uence, compared with the other two. I fought 
on, however, and drove back the attacking galleys, took the 
first galley, and ran up my flag. Then I rammed and dis- 
abled a galleot, cut her crew to bits, put some of my own 
men aboard, and ran np ray flag. The rest of the fleet 
fought splendidly, and the Turks made a brave defence, for 
the flower of their men was on board. But we routed 
them and put them to flijjht, and many of them, to their 
shame, jumped into the sea. The battle lasted from the 
morning early till post two o'clock. We took six of their 
ships with all their crews, whom we spitted on the sword, 
among them their admiral Cialibeg, with all his nephews, 
"When the battle was over we sailed under the walls of 
Gallipoli and defied them to come out ; but no one dared. 
!rhen I drew out to the open sea a bit, to rest my men and 
low them to dress their wounds. On board the captured 


ships we found Genoese, Catalans, Proven^ls, Sicilians, i 
Candiots, and these I cut to hits, as well as all the 
pilots, so that the Turks have no more just now. 
George CaleTgi, a rehel against your Serenity, I ordered to 
be quartered on the poop of my own ship ; this will he a 
warning to Christians not to take service with the Turk 
again. And now we may say that, for a long time to 
come, the power of the Turk by sea is utterly destroyed. 
I have 1100 prisoners." 

The victory of Gallipoh was a splendid achievement of 
Venetian arms, and secured for tlie Eepublic an advanta- 
geous peace as well as the admiration of all Europe. But 
Loredano's estimate was too sanguine ; the power of the 
Turk could not be broken by one naval defeat, however 

The Venetians were still endeavouring, but without 
success, to convert the truce with Sigismund into a peace. 
Dalmatia blocked the way. Sigismund refused to allow 
Venice to hold it as a fief, and Venice declined to give it 
up. It was necessary to prepare for war. The Kepuhlic 
attempted to strengthen herself by treaties, of which the 
Visconti alliance promised most ; though Filippo Maria \ 
not yet in a position to be of very great service, as he i 
engaged in recovering his paternal dominions from \ 
father's usurping generals. The Imperial army ent€ 
Friuli in 1418. It was supported by the Patriarch 
of Aquileia, Ludwig von Teck, and the Coilnts of 
Giorizia, The Venetians were assisted by the great family 
of Savorgnan. The war was entirely favourable to the 
Eepublic. Sacile fell ; Ciridale yielded of its own accord ; 
Feltre and Belluuo were recovered ; Udinc was closely 
besieged. The Patriarch, a prisoner in the leaguered city, 
in vain implored the Emperor to come to his aid ; Sigis- 
mund, wlio had miscalculated Venetian resources, was 
at that moment rendered helpless by his war with the 
Hussites in Bohemia, and the Turkish menace to his 
Hungarian frontier. The Patriarch fled to the Counts of 
Gorizia for protection. Udiue fell, followed by Aquileia 
and all the strong places of Friuli. The year 1420 saw 


\ the Republic mistress of the whole province from the aea to 
the Alps ; the Patriarch made a formal surrender 
of his signorial rights, and the Counts of Gorizia 
acknowledged a feudal overlordsbip in the Repnblia This 
produced an immense addition to Venetian territory ; the 
frontiers of the Republic were strengthened towards the 
east, where tbey had hitherto been so weak, and ran, now, 
from the Alps, by Moufalcone, to that long line of low hills, 
near Custozza and Somma Campagna, wliich separate the 
basins of the Adige and the Mincio, passing thence down 
the line of the Po to the sea. And all this new territory 
to the east had been acquired at comparatively little cost of 
blood or money, thanks to the fortunate circumstance that 
Sigismnod had allowed John Huss to be burned at Constance, 
and was now hampered by a religious war. It is not 
surprising that Venetian pride rose high at such unprece- 
I dented success ; that she acquired a thirst for glory and an 
appetite for territory, which presently drove her, under 
the Doge Foscari, to still further efforts and brought her 
face to face with the Yisconti of Milan. 

But Visconti was qniet as yet. As we have seen, he was 
fully occupied in recovering and consolidating his father's 
dominions. In this he was assisted by the military courage 
and ability of his general, Francesco Bussone, better known 
aa Carmagnola from his birthplace near Turin, By the year 
1420, that is contemporaneously with the Venetian conquest 
of Friuli, Visconti had achieved his task. Carmagnola had 
I restored to him his lost possessions, and had placed the crown 
[ upon his services by subduing Genoa to the Duke of Milan. 
Florence was the first power in Italy to take alarm at 
I the Visconti's attitude, S!ie sent an invitation to Venice 
r begging the Eepublic to join her in a league against the 
growing power of Milan. This invitation, and the way in 
which it was received, is a crucial point in Venetian history. 
The Kepublic up to this moment had hardly been con- 
scions of all that was implied by the conquests which she 
had recently been making on the mainland. She had passed 
on, more or less lightly, from Treviso to Padua, Vicenza, 
Verona, Friuli, But now by this question of the Florentine 



ambassadors she was suddenly made aware that she was no 
longer the free, isolated, independent Venice of the 
lagoons, a Venice that could afford to be indifferent 
to mainland politics, and could pursue her great commercial 
career undisturbed by consideration of who was lord in Milan 
or Verona, provided they bought her goods. She learned now, 
for the first time, that the whole flood of complicated and 
turbulent Italian politics had been let in upon her through 
the gate of Verona, Vicenza, Padua; that her peace was 
gone ; that she was no longer her own mistress. The deed 
had been done some time ago, but the realisation of all that 
it entailed only arrived now ; and hence it is that the Doge 
Mocenigo, in his treatment of the Florentine invitation, in the 
advice he gave to his fellow-citizens upon this occasion, was 
led to believe that he could point out alternative lines of 
action, could indicate a possible choica That was not the 
case ; the choice had already been made by Venice unwitting 
of its full meaning, but made ; the Eepublic could not go 
back now. 

When the Florentine proposal arrived, as by a sudden 
flash of lightning it revealed in Venice two policies, two 
parties, diametrically opposed to one another, but hitherto 
unconscious of their antagonism. The Doge, representing 
the older party, was averse to a Florentine alliance; he thought 
it possible to remain on good terms with Visconti, and to 
trade with the Milanese, not to fight it. The party of young 
Venice, the party of ambition, eager to extend, bitten with 
land-hunger, was headed by Francesco Foscari, and warmly 
espoused the Florentine alliance. Mocenigo's influence was 
sufficiently strong to secure an unfavourable answer for 
Florentine envoys. The excuse was the league with Visconti 
against Sigismund which already existed. When Florence 
offered to mediate between the Eepublic and the Emperor, 
and so to remove this obstacle to an alliance which they 
so dearly desired, they were informed that mediation had 
already been tried, but in vain. The Doge is said to have 
made a long oration in the Great Council, during the course 
of which, addressing himself personally to Foscari, whom, 
with taunting iteration, he calls "our young procurator," 


he brought illustration after illustration, from sacred, from 
ancient, from modem history, to prove that States 
which go to war are always ruined. The address is 
probably apocryphal. More authentic is the famous testa- 
mentary exhortation of the dying Doge. Summoning to his 
bedside the principal statesmen of the Kepublic, he placed 
before them the financial and commercial condition of the 
community, never more flourishing ; he showed how the 
merchant marine was the greatest in the world ; how the 
national debt was rapidly disappearing ; how their naval 
struggle with the Turks, trained for their service a number 
of admirable captains ; how, in detail, Milan, Como, Pavia, 
Breacia, Bergamo, Parma, Cremona, all the territories of 
the Duke of Milan, contributed to the ten millions of 
ducats, which yearly passed through Venetian hands, leav- 
ing not less than two million ducats of profit behind ; 
how, if this rate of expansion were kept up, Venice would 
soon be mistres.^ of all the wealth in the world ; how 
this prosperity might be ruined by a war ; and how the 
question of war or peace depended on the choice of his 
successor. " Many of you are inclined," he said. " to Messer 
Marino Caravello, a good mau and one deserving of that 
high honour ; so too Messer Francesco Bembo, Messer Gia- 
como Trevisan, Messer Antonio Contarini. Many again 
are inclined to Messer Francesco Foscari, but they know not 
that he is a braggart and vainglorious, without solidity, light- 
headed, grasping at much and holding little. If you choose 
him you will always be at war ; your ten thousand ducats 
will be reduced to one ; the man who owns two houses will 
be left with only one ; you will waste your gold and lose 
your honour ; instead of being the masters, you will become 
the slaves of your men-at-arms and their captains." 

With these weighty words of warning on his lipsTommaso 
Mocenigo died, leaving \x> the Kepublic the moment- 
ous question of choosing his successor and of giving 
a definite answer to the Florentine envoys, who were still 
' attending in the hope of bringing Venice to their side. 


Francesco Foscari, Doge — His election, corrapt — Sala del Maggior Consiglio 
— The question of a Florentine alliance — Growth of Yisconti — Ridolfo's 
threat — Yisconti and Carmagnola — Carmagnola in Venice — Hia speech 
in the Senate — Foscari urges the Florentine league — Concluded — Canna- 
gnola engaged by Venice — The condoUieri — Venetian relations to her 
condoUieri — The Proveditori in Campo — First campaign against Vis- 
conti — Brescia — Carmagnola's conduct — Second campaign — Carmagnola*8 
conduct — The populace accuse him of treachery — Battle of Macalo — 
Prospect of capturing Milan — Carmagnola's conduct— Bergamo — C&rma- 
gnola's demands — Third campaign — Venetian defeat on the Po — Venice 
determines to arrest Carmagnola — Proposal to poison the Duke of Milan 
— Finances disturbed — Carmagnola's trial and execution — His guilt — 
Result of his campaigns — Jealousy of Venice : expressed at the Council of 
Basel — Question of investiture of her new dominions : granted at Prague 
— Ceremony — War with Visconti continued — Venetian galleys on Garda 
— Rise of Francesco Sforza — Death of Filippo Maria — Change in the 
aspect of affairs — Sforza' s claim to Milan — ^The French claim to Milan — 
Importance of this — Sforza Duke of Milan — Peace between Venice and 
Milan at Lodi — Affairs of Constantinople — Venice makes terms with the 
Turks at Adrianople — Mohammed the conqueror — The Emperor Constan- 
tine asks help from Venice — Siege of Constantinople — Presence of the 
Venetian fleet — Fall of Constantinople — The new order of things: in 
Italy ; in the Levant ; inside the city — Plot of the young nobles to 
secure oflices — The story of Jacopo Foscari — The Doge withdraws from 
public life ; is compelled to abdicate ; and dies — The results of Foscari's 
reign — Acquisition on the mainland — Exhausted treasury — Pomp. 

When the Doge Moceiiigo solemnly exhorted his countrymen 
to be careful in their choice of a Doge, he did not 
mean that the personal influence of the new 
Doge would affect the policy of Venice, but rather that the 
choice of his successor would be an indication of the policy 
which the State intended to pursue. In his deathbed speech 
Mocenigo had placed the situation clearly before theVenetian 



m&gistrates. It was this: the proce.s3 of elimination which had 
slowly crushed out the Scala and Carrara families had 
now left only two possible competitors for supremacy 
in North Italy, Visconti and Venice. Moceiiigo's policy was 
to arrest the extension of the Republic at the point where 
ahe now stood ; " the hills of Verona," he said, " are our 
frontier, which we will defend if attacked." He believed 
it possible to trade with the Milanese and to defend the 
frontier ; and he urged that a war with Milan would exhaust 
Venetian capital, while, at the same time, it cut off one great 
outlet for her accumulated merchandise. 

But such a calculation left out of account the ambition 
. of Viaconti, the fact that be claimed Verona, Vicenza, and 
Padua, in virtue of hia father's occupation of those provinces, 
and the essential weakness of the Veronese frontier ; for, 
by " the mountains of Verona," Mocenigo meant nothing 
more than that low range of hills near Somma Campagna 
which separate the Veronese from the Lago di CJarda. 
We have endeavoured, in the preceding chapter, to show 
reasons for thinking that Mocenigo's policy was impossible ; 
that, whoever might be his successor, the Ilepublic was 
already committed to a policy of extension and aggrandise- 
ment on the mainland, with all the consequences implied 
thereby. But the question still presented itself to the 
Venetians as au open one ; and so the election of the next 
Doge was made the pretest for a trial of strength between 
the two parties — the party which represented the old policy of 
abstention from mainland complications, and the young, or 
"jingo," party which desired to follow up Venetian success 
on itrra ferma. In spite of Mocenigo's warning, and 
notwithstanding the sharp struggle, which carried the 
balloting over several days, the party of young Venice was 
victorious ; Francesco Foscari, " our young procurator," the 
wdimeut and personification of the new spirit, waa 

The election of Foscari presents several points which 
F instantly ^ark it as the beginning of an epoch in Venetian 
I liistory ; they are all of them instructive as indicating the 
^iiit of the new departure. 


Whether bribery and chicanery had been einployed before 
in the election of a Do<;e or not, this is the first 
occasion upon which we find serious stress laid upon 
these charges. Foscari's enemies did not hesitate to accuse 
him of having employed a surplus, which he found lying to 
the credit of the Procurators when he assumed that office, 
in smoothing his path to popularity and the throne, by 
liberal donations to the families of the poorer nobility. At 
the actual ballot his election was secured by a trick. His 
own supporters voted against him and for another candi- 
date, thereby inducing those who wished to exclude that 
candidate to cast their votes for Foscari ; then suddenly on 
the tenth ballot they all transferred their suffrages to 
Foscari, and secured a majority. 

The old purity of election had disappeared, whether 
at a single stroke or as the outcome of a slow process we 
do not know ; but election to office now became a question 
of arrangement, manipulation, jobbery. Just at the very 
moment when the aristocracy, the oligarchical body, had suc- 
ceeded, after centuries of endeavour, in extruding the people 
from all share in the management of the State, when the 
last remnants of popular government are removed by the 
abolition of the CondOy or general assembly, and the Doge is 
presented to the people as " your Doge, whether it please you 
or not " ; just when the Doge himself has been thoroughly 
muzzled and curbed, — that aristocratical body, that ruling 
caste which has thus achieved its aim, begins to show signs 
of corruption ; election to office is made a matter of arrange- 
ment between the more powerful nobles, and there arises a 
class of pauper nobility open to bribes. It would seem that 
the integrity of the oligarchical caste could only be maintained 
while it had an opposition to conquer — the people and the 
Doge ; when its objects are achieved, when the opposition 
is overcome, disintegration sets in. 

Such are the inner aspects of Foscari's election. But 
externally also everything contributed to mark the opening of 
tliis new era. The ducal pomp, his dress and his retinue, 
were still further magnified ; fur mantles were ordered for 
the Doge, bright liveries for his servants ; the new Sdla dd 

MaggioT ConsU/lio was opened for the first time by a 
ceremony at which the Marquis of Mantua was 
admitted to the ranks of the Venetian aristocracy ; 
and the triumphal progress of the Doge's wife, from her 
private house to the palace, surpassed all previous proces- 
sions in the lavisiiness of its splendour. 

When Foscari came to the throne the question of a 
Florentine alliance against Visconti was still pending. From 
Mocenigo the Florentine envoys had received an unfavour- 
able answer ; hut they knew that Foscari was on their side, 
and his election to the Dogeship ioduced them to approach 
Venice once more upon the subject. The Mocenigo party, 
however, was still powerful, aad could always point out 
that a Florentine alliance would throw Viscoijti and 
Sigismund together, exposing Venice to | attack from east 
and west Foscari and his friends, the Florentines, were 
obliged to wait some time longer before the current of events 
brought about the combination which they desired. Vis- 
conti, meanwhile, was steadily pursuing his way southward. 
His troops were in the Komagna, and had occupied Imola. 
The defeat of the Florentines at Zagonara {27th July 1424), 
and the capttire of their general Carlo Malatesta, reduced 
them to the greatest straits, and compelled them once more 
to have recourse to Venice. The Republic was the only 
Italian power from which Florence could expect any aid. 
But even Zagonara, though it alarmed the Venetians, was 
not sufficient to cause them to unite with Florence. The 
defeat in that engagement was followed by other crushing 
disasters at Val Lamone, Kapallo, Anghiari. Visconti'a 
arms seemed invincible, and Venice was seriously dis- 
turbed by the rapid growth of Lis power. These rei>eated 
misfortunes forced the Florentines to come once more 
a-begging; and in his struggle with the coldness of the 
Venetian attitude, Ridolfi, the Florentine ambassador, burst 
into an appeal which ended in a threat. " If Venice will 
not help us to retain our liberties, we will pull the whole 
house down about our ears. When we refused to succour 
Genoa, she made Visconti her lord ; if you refuse to help 
la, we will help to make him king." This threat had 


some effect, and the Seoate for the first time 
to consider the question of a Florentine league, in 
November 1424. 

But other events were taking place in ViacontT* 
dominions which were destined to throw a weapon into the 
hands of Foscari and the Florentine party, and to effect the 
union of Florence and Venice against Milan. 

We have already seen how the Duke of Milan had 
covered his paternal dominions chiefly through the milil 
skill of his favourite general, Carmagnola. Carmagnc 
career continued with uointemipted success down to 
year 1424. He had amassed a vast fortune, part of whii 
he invested in Venetian funds ; he had married Filippo 
Maria's daughter, and bore the Viseonti arms ; he had begun 
to build a magnificent palace in Milan, But the jealous 
■whisperings among Visconti's inner circle of courtiers, roi 
the suspicion of the Duke. He determined that Carmf 
should not become so powerful as to be a danger to 
Viseonti dominions. The Duke accordingly removed his 
too prosperous general from the government of Genoa, and 
refused him an audience. Carmagnola at once left the 
Milanese, and sought refuge with the Duke of 
Failing to induce him to engage in a war against Vi 
Carmagnola passed on to Venice, where he at once 
found himself welcomed by the Doge Foscari, and 
soon learned that his arrival was likely to bring about the very 
object he had most at heart, a combination against the Duke 
of Milan. Carmagnola was introduced to the Senate, and, 
in the course of an address, he pointed out the eaae with 
which the Duke might be attacked, and gave much valuable 
information as to the resources of the Milanese. The 
Senate resolved to engage the services of Carmagnola ; and, 
until he was required to take the field, he retired to Treviso, 
where he soon discovered that Viseonti had tried to 
assassinate him by poison. The Duke's agent was seized, 
tortured, and killed. Th(! Florentine party in Venice was 
now very much stronger, and the Doge renewed his 
endeavours to bringabout an alliance. An impassioned speech 
concluded thus : " Shall we suffer Philip to crush the lil 

t the 




-to dj^ 
ived his 
loa, and 
left the 
' Savoj^H 

o crush the liberty 


of Florence ? Shall this raging tyrant overrun, destroy, 
confound all Italy unpunished ? No ! Carmaguola 
has shown ua that the power of Philip is not so 
great as was supposed ; and if Carmagnola is our general 
we may surely look for a successful issue to the campaign ; 
all Italy cannot show his match in bravery and in mili- 
tary skill. Under such a leader we have every hope of 
extending our horders. These considemtions counsel us to 
declare war, which after all is a necessity, for our enemy is 
our neighbour, is powerful, and aspires to supreme dominion 
in the peninsula. Against him, tlien, we must league with 
Florence, throw down the gauntlet, avenge our wrongs, and 
crush the common foe." The eloquence of the Doge, and 
the combination of events, carried the day. The Florentine 
League was voted on 3rd December 1425, and Venice was 
committed to the greatest land war upon which she had 
ever embarked. 

Foscari, in his decisive speech, had praised Cannagnola 
aa a general ; but he said nothing about his essential 
obaracter as a coiuloUkrc, aa a mercenary captaiu of arms. 
Mocenigo's warning, that if Venice embarked on land wars 
she would be compelled to employ mercenary soldiery, and 
that where she had been mistress she would become the 
slave of her captains and their men, had been foigotten, but 
was none the less true. In the unfortunate conditions of 
'Italy, when the whole country was divided among a number 
of small despots, each endeavouring to aggrandise his own 
family at the expense of his neighbour, and maintaining with 
difficulty his authority in his native city whose inhabitants 
groaned under his tyranny, it was impossible for any one of 
lords to entrust his fortunes to native arms which 
iwould be hostile, or to native captains who were ambitious. 
Foreigners with no stake in the community were required. 
"Under these circumstances there arose a whole class of men, 
soldiers by trade, mercenaries, captains of adventure, who 
undertook to supply the demand. These captains were 
veady to contract with any of the Italian States for placing 
80 many troops in the field at bo much a month and at a 
iparate salary for themselves. They became proficients in 


the art of war, and it soon came to be understood that a raw 
and untrained native militia was powerless against 
their elaborate tactics and their skilful strategy. At 
the same time, they formed a class by themselves ; their 
own objects were never those of the master they served ; it 
was nothing to them who ruled in Milan, Verona, or 
Padua, provided there was some one there with a large 
purse and an insatiable ambition. War alone, war for 
its own sake, was their sole interest ; the camp their only 
fatherland; peace the one thing they dreaded. And so 
among themselves, they began to develop a code of mili- 
tary usage which would favour their own special interests. 
Wars were not to be finished too rapidly; it was not 
the captain's interest to conclude a campaign as long as 
the employers* pockets were full; accordingly decisive 
engagements were avoided; or if a decisive victory were 
necessary to restore the market value of a condottiere, the 
custom of war compelled him to liberate all his prisoners 
on the morrow of his victory ; marching and counter-march- 
ing, through well-stocked districts, was their delight, and 
early retirement to winter quarters in some wealthy city was 
prescribed by etiquette ; midsummer appeared too hot and 
midwinter too cold for military operations. In vain the 
employers, the belligerents who did not fight, urged their 
respective captains to vigorous measures. They were 
compelled to stand by and look on at a game which was 
ruining their exchequer. They had no means of compelling 
their mercenaries to act unless it pleased them; nothing 
remained but to offer them enormous bribes and to make 
vast promises. The struggle, as far as the despots were 
concerned, was carried on chiefly in the Cabinet ; it was the 
longest purse that won the day, for the moment the salary 
ceased, or upon the offer of higher terms, a mercenary captain 
would pass with all his men from one camp to the other 
without the smallest scruple. And the success of these 
adventurers was often very remarkable. Some amassed^ huge 
fortunes like CoUeoni ; some carved temporary principalities 
for themselves out of their employers' dpminions, like Giau 
Galeazzo's group of generals ; some,* like Francesco ^orza, 


I . 



i4ucceeded in placing their family periuaueiitly on a throne. 
The stakes they played for were high, but the risks 
they ran were great, as the history of Carmt^ola 
will presently prove. 

In opening her career of extension upon the mainland, 
Venice exposed herself to many of the difficulties inherent 
in the mercenary system. In her earlier land wars, 
which were few and far between, as her population was 
almost entirely a seafaring population, she had found herself 
compelled to use mercenary armies as weU as mercenary 
captains. In 1312, for example, she had employed Dal- 
masio de Banoli to find the troops and the means to reduce 
Zara. Venice was thrifty ; she was willing to pay 
liberally, but she also determined to see that the funds 
were properly employed, and to avoid the risk of the whole 
remaining in the captain's hands while his troops revolted 
for want of pay. To secure this object she appointed two 
of her nobles, with the title of Proveditm-i, to attend the 
camp of Dalmasio, and to superintend the army chest. 
Dalmasio objected ; he maintained that, in the interests of 
discipline, it was necessary for the troops to be dependent 
on their commanding officer for their pay. Venice refused 
to admit the argument, and Dalmasio sold himself to the 
«Demy. This action on the part of their mercenary captain 
not induce Venice to abandon her proveditorial system, 
id all through the ensuing wars, two or more Venetian 
iblea were present in the cimdotiiere's camp, acting as 
Frovcditori, keeping a sharp eye on the general's actions, 
and sometimes interfering in the conduct of the campaign. 
The presence of these government officials in the mercenary 
camp, is one of the most striking features in the peculiar 
telations of Venice towards her condoUitri, and distinguishes 
lier from other States. But there were other important points 
of difference. When the Eepublic entered upon the wars 
with Visconti she was already mistress of a considerable 
mainland territory, from which she raised a part at least of 
her troops ; about one-third of her array was drawn from 
Padua, Treviso, Vicenza, and Verona. Moreover. Venice was 
very different employer from the lords of the mainland. 

ireer n^^ 


Her governmenb was not concentrated in the hands of a a 
despot, ruling in a city whose liatred constantly 
exposed him to the danger of rebellion or of assassina- 
tion. Her government was strong, popular, unassailable, and 
she was immensely wealthy. The Eepnblic stood in a far 
more commanding position towards her amdotiieri than any 
mainland despot. 

When war broke out, Venice and Florence were joined 
by the Duke of Savoy, and by some other smaller princes. 
The results of the first campaign were highly satisfactory for 
the Venetian, if not for the Florentine, Republic, Canua- 
gnola invested Brescia ; the lower town openeJ its gates 
at once, and after a siege of some montlis the 
upper city and the two castles fell. Bnt the 
credit of this important siege and capture does not I 
to Carmagnola. From the very outset of his career 1 
Venetian service, his conduct was a source of surprise and 
annoyance to bis employers. He had no sooner led his 
army under the walls of Brescia, than he appHed for 
leave to retire to the Baths of Abano, on tlie plea that. 
as he had been thrown from his horse while living in 
Treviao, his health was delicate. It la not quite certain 
whether Carmagnola availed hunself at once of the permis- 
sion grudgingly given. The Senate urged him not to leave the 
army for long, and promised to creat* an independent Swte 
for him if he would eross the Adda, and press forward to Milan. 
In reply Carmagnola sent to inform the Venetians that the 
Duke of Milan had offered to open negotiations for a peace 
through himself as mediator. Whatever may have been the 
intention of Filippo Visconti, whether he wished to make 
it appear that he was on intimate terms with the general uf 
the Republic, or whether lie wished to win back CarmBgno!& 
to his service, his extraordinary conduct in keeping up a 
constant succession of messages between Milan and the 
Venetian camp succeeded in rendering Venice suspicious. 
and in leading Carmagnola forward to his doom. The 
Republic now begged Carmagnola to pay no heed to these 
empty proposals of the Duke ; and the general, leaving the 
engineer Nicolo da Tolentino to conduct the siege of Bresoilh 



^Tetired to the Baths uf Abano. The peace of San Giotto, 
conchided on 30th December 1428, put an end to 
the first campaign, and left Venice with Brescia. 
and the Breaciauo as an addition to her laud dominion. 

Venice was aoon to leani how Little faith could be 
placed in a pace volpiiia, in a Visconti's treaty of peace. 
Filippo iiad merely signed tlie treaty of S. Giorgio in order 
to arrest a campaign which had proved disastrous. He 
entertained no idea of adhering to itfi clauses. ByMarchl427 
I war was evidently coming on again. Carmagnola obeyed 
I a summons to Venice to consult as to the conduct of the 
campaign ; and he took the field iii April. But again his 
behaviour proved distressing. He remained inactive for 
weeks. Casalmaggiore was besieged by Piccinino, Visconti's 
general, and for want of support from Carmagnola it felL 
He declared that he could not move, as he had no forage 
for his horses; then, that he was not in sufficient force; 
then, that he wanted money. The Venetian fleet on the Po, 
, native Venetians commanded by Venetian nobles, won a 
I decisive victory over the Milanese flotilla nnder Enstachio 
1 Faccino, and pressed on till they were nearly under Pavia ; 
I but through a failure of support they were forced to retire. 
! Nothing could be more vexatious than Carmagnola's conduct 
of the war. He was at the head of the finest army that 
had been seen in North Italy, 22,000 horse and 14,000 
infantrj', and yet he let himself be seriously damaged in an 
ambuscade at Gottolengo, and failed to secure a >-ictory at 
J Casalsecco. A diversion on the Savoy frontier compelled 
I the Duke to withdraw a portion of his troops, and Casal- 
maggiore was recovered ; but some ineffectual operations on the 
Lago d'Iseo were all that Carmagnola undertook, and at Venice 
th© populace began openly to accuse liim of treachery. The 
Doge was obliged to write to the infuriated general, e.'ccus- 
ing the condiict of the commonalty, and assuring Carma- 
gnola that the Government had unbounded confidence in his 
ability, only they wished he would show it. 

Carmagnola seems to have understood that he must 
undertake some more active operation unless he wished to 
be arrested. He moved his army to Macalo, near the river 



Oglio. There, on 11th October 1427, he was attacked by 
Viscontfs three generals, Piccinino, Sforza, and 
Malatesta; and there he gained the one great 
victory which he secured for Venice. Malatesta, and 8000 
prisoners, remained in his hands, and, in accordance with 
military etiquette, were liberated the following day. 

The joy at Venice was unbounded. Now for the first 
time it seemed possible that Milan itself might fall to the 
Republic ; no one doubted that if Carmagnola had crossed 
the Adda he would have had a very fair chance of capturing 
the capital of the Visconti But Carmagnola was in no 
hurry to finish the war ; and such a victory as that of Macalo 
gave him an opportunity of winning gratitude from the 
Duke — a possible employer in the future — by using it 
gently. Some trifling operations in the Bresciano were the 
sole outcome of this splendid victory. 

Meantime the Pope, by the instrumentality of Cardinal 
S. Croce, was endeavouring to arrange a peace. Venice 
claimed not only Brescia, but also Bergamo and its district 
Visconti refused to surrender these, and began again to make 
offers of negotiation through Carmagnola. Tlie spring of 
1428 arrived before any terms had been arranged, and the 
Venetians urged Carmagnola to take the field. He replied 
that he wished to retire to Abano. The Senate, losiug 
patience, declared that they knew him to be perfectly well ; 
and while this quarrel was still in progress, Visconti gave 
way, surrendered Bergamo, and the peace of Ferrara was 
published in May 1428. 

The first campaign against Visconti had added Brescia 
to the Venetian territory ; the second gave her Bergamo as 
well. Her land possessions now extended from the Julian 
Alps in the east to the river Adda in the west This is the 
point of greatest permanent extension which Venice achieved 
on the mainland of Italy. She acquired and held for a brief 
period other territories farther west; but her permanent 
frontier remained the river Adda. 

In these successive campaigns which occupy the reign of 
Foscari, and exhaust Venetian treasure, it is not Venice who 
renews the war. Her desire was to remain quiet, and to 


consolidate tlie territorial possessions which she had acquired. 
But the fact that tlie struggle was, on the whole, 
unfavourable to Visconti, made it impoasiblc for 
him to accept the result of each campaign. He hail set 
out with the intention of recovering Verona and Vicenza ; 
he had succeeded in losing Brescia and Bergamo. His 
attitude, therefore, was always threatening ; and in Oc- 
tober 1428, war seemed once again inevitable. Yet it 
was precisely this moment which Carmagnola chose for 
tendering the resignation of his command. The whole 
of the general's conduct looked as though he were acting 
in collusioa with the Duke. The Senate met to con- 
sider tlje cominnnication, and refused to accept the pro- 
posal. But they could not afl'ord to disgust Carmagnola : 
they stiU believed in his militaiy skill— Macalo confirmed 
their belief — though they did not know how to evoke it 
for their own benefit. The Venetiaus cunseuted to the 
extravagant terms which the general demanded as the price 
of remaining in their service. He was to draw 1000 
ducats n inontli, in peace or war ; to enjoy supreme com- 
mand of all the troops of the Republic, with power of life 
and death ; to possess the fiefs of Cliiari and Roccafranca, 
with descent to his legitimate heirs ; and to enjoy all the 
ransoms for persons of importance captured in war. 

The threat of a rupture with Visconti passed by ; hut 
in the inter\'al of peace the Duke of Milan continued 
to ply Carmagnola with letters, with messengers, with 
suggestions that he should arbitrate betM'een Milan and 
Venice. Carmagnola never made any concealment of this 
correspondence; he reported it all to Venice, where his 
extraordinary conduct merely produced mystification and 
suspicion. In 1431 war broke out once more, and the 
Republic offered to make Carmagnola lord of illilan if he 
succeeded in destroj-ing the domiaion of Visconti. But this 
third campaign repeats all the exasperating features 
of previous operations. Through inertia, the capture 
of Lodi failed. The Venetian flotilla on the Po was utterly 
routed, owing to Carmagnola's dilatoriuess in moving to ila 
snppOTt ; Nicolo Trevisan, the admiral, was condemned to 



imprisonment, and, in contumacy, was outlawed. Carmagnola 
failed to support Cavalcabo in his night surprise of 
Cremona, and the design miscarried. The situation 
was becoming intolerable to the Venetians. In October the 
Senate proposed to take their general's conduct into con- 
sideration, et luni stare in his perpctuis IdborHncs et expcrisis. 
But the question was laid aside for a while, and fresh efforts 
were made to incite Carmagnola to active operations. In 
the meantime a proposal to poison the Duke of Milan was 
accepted by the Council of Ten. The assassin who made 
the offer, was a certain Micheletto Muazzo ; but the Ten, 
having some doubts as to the efficacy of the poison he pro- 
posed to employ, ordered him to experiment in their presence 
upon two pigs. Having received ocular demonstration that 
the drugs were efficient, they promised Muazzo 25,000 ducats 
if he succeeded in killing the Duke ; the plot, however, like 
most of the plots so freely propounded by the members of 
the corrupt and ruined classes, failed. 

Carmagnola still maintained his attitude of inactivity ; 
it was in vain that the Government despatched a special 
commissioner to his camp to renew the offers of splendid 
rewards if he would move. Matters were becoming very 
serious for Venice ; no new territory accrued to her ; com- 
merce was interrupted by military operations, and yet the 
strain on her exchequer, for the support of Carmagnola and 
his useless army, never ceased for a moment. The EepubUe 
found herself forced to apply to her mainland provinces, 
begging them to anticipate their tribute by four months, and 
renouncing to them the octroi dues, till the extinction of the 
debt. The transaction was conducted on a fair and business- 
like footing ; the provinces were not forced to make the loan, 
and they were fully secured. But the episode is ominous ; it 
is the first sign that this land war might prove a strain upon 
the finances of the Eepublic, which they were unable to bear. 
Mocenigo's prophecy was receiving a rapid and complete 
fulfilment ; Venice found herself the slave of her captain- 
general, and was losing both her money and her honour. 

At length the Government resolved to submit no longer. 
On 28th March 1432, the CouncQ of Ten undertook the 


conduct of the case, and acted with its wonted promptitude 
and vigour. It imposed silence upon all members 
of the Senate and of the Ten, under pain of death. 
It asked for a giunta, or addition of twenty members, 
thus raising the numbers of the Court to thirty-seven. 
Tlte following day a secretary of the Council, Giovanni de 
Imperils, a man with a long pale face, but a trusty servant, 
was despatched to Brescia to invite Carmagnola's presence in 
Venice, as the Government wished to consult him about the 
conduct of the approaching campaign. If Cannagnola showed 
signs of unwillingness or suspicion, Giovanni was authorised 
to cause the PodestV and the Captain of Brescia to arrest 
him ; at the same time the Ten sent a letter to the general 
requesting him to put all confidence in the words of their 
secretary, Giovanni. De Imperiia fulfilled his commission 
without difficulty, Cannagnola manifested no reluctance. He 
set out at once for Venice, He was received with distinction 
at Padua, and reached the capital on 7th April. A guard 
of honour met him, and conducted him to the ducal palace. 
As he pa^ed upatairs, his personal .suite was dismissed, on 
the excuse that the general_would dine with the Doge. In 
the Sala delle Quattro Porte, Carmagnola waited a little 
while, and presently a mess^e came to say that his Serenity 
was indisposed, and would receive him to-morrow. He 
turned to go down to his gondola. As he was making for 
the staircase one of the attendant nobles said, " This way, 
my lord Count." — " But that is not the way," replied Car- 
magnola. " Oh, pardon, it is the right way I " At that 
moment he was surrounded and hurried into one of 
the prisons ; as the door closed on him he exclaimed, " I am 
a lost man," The trial was begun on 9th April; suspended 
for the festivities of Easter, and resumed on the 23rcl, The 
committee of examination presented their report ; and the 
vote to proceed to sentence was passed by 26 against 
1, with 9 neutrals. Two sentences were proposed, the first 
that the Count should be belieaded that same day, in public, 
with a gag in his mouth ; the second, moved by the Doge, 
that he should be imprisoned for life. The former was 
carried. On the 5th May, towards evening, Carmagnola, 



dressed in a crimson velvet vest and mantle, and a cap alia 
Canfiidgnola, was led into the Piazzetta, and there, 
between the two columns, his head fell from his 
body at the third blow. 

There can be little doubt of Carmagnola's guilt towards 
Venice. His conduct had been that of a true candottiere — 
absolutely regardless of his employers' interests ; thinking 
solely how he might prolong the war, draw his salary, and 
prepare a good reception from Visconti, if he ever wished to 
return to the Milanese service. Venice had behaved with 
great long-sufferance, partly from necessity, partly from sur- 
prise and ignorance of what the employment of a condottiere 
implied ; when she did learn, at last, the significance of her 
position, she struck rapidly and boldly. Her conduct startled 
the rest of Italy ; such vigour seemed hardly within the rules 
of the game ; but it served as a lesson to the generals she 
subsequently employed, no one of whom ventured to give 
her so much trouble as Carmagnola had inflicted on the 

We have dwelt at length on the episode of Carmagnola, 
because it illustrates the Venetian spirit when brought, for 
the first time, into contact with the system of mercenar)' 
captains ; and also because, under Carmagnola's leadership, 
Venice, in spite of all her disappointments, touched the 
highest point of her land development Bergamo and Brescia 
were solid acquisitions after eight years of almost incessant 

This extension of land dominion, and the power it was 
presumed to bring with it, could not fail to produce its 
natural consequence in stirring against the Republic the first 
symptoms of that European jealousy, which broke out in its 
full violence at the League- of Cambray. At the Council 
of Basel, which had been sitting since 1431, the Patriarch 
of Aquileia formally accused Venice of being in ill^al 
possession of his patrimony, the province of Friuli. He 
claimed the use of spiritual weapons against the robber of 
church property ; and the Council, complying with his request, 
prepared a monitory, with excommunication as its sanction. 
The Eepublic sent an embassy to defend its rights, with 


private instructions to do all that was possible to avert 
tlie piiblicatiou of the monitory, but if it were in- 
evitable, to make no effort to moderate its terms, 
as the more violent it proved in expression, the easier it 
would be to protest agaiust it. The monitory was issued, 
and Venice passed under excoraramiication, but without any 
result. The Pope, Eugenius IV., was a Venetian, and no 
friend to the Council of Basel ; without the authority 
of Konie the excommunication, in Italy at least, was not a 
eerious matter. 

The episode, however, enlightened Venice as to one 
consequence of having created a land empii-e ; she learned 
now that the question of a title, in spite of its seeming 
hoUowness, might be of importance ; the lack of a good title 
was always an excuse for an attack. As a matter of fact 
Venice had no valid title dejure to auy of her land possessions. 
Nominally Friuli belonged to the Patriarchate of Aquileia, 
while Vicenza, Verona, Brescia, and Bergamo belonged to 
the Viacouti family ; and in Italy, though a good title 
in law was a useless title in fact, unless supported by 
possession, it was desirable all the same to combine both. 
Accordingly Marco Dandolo, Venetian ambassador at the 
Imperial Court, was instructed to demand a formal investiture 
of Venetian land possessions, and to represent the 
Kepublic at the ceremony. That took place with 
much pomp at Prague on 16th August 1437. The Emperor 
and his court occupied a raised dais at one end of the 
great square. Dandolo, magnificently dressed in cloth of 
gold, entered the square, and was received by 200 noble- 
men, who conducted him to the foot of the throne. There 
Dandolo sank on his knees, hut the Emperor bade him rise, 
and inquired the nature of his petition. Dandolo replied 
that the Ilepublic of Venice sought the investiture of her 
tDainland possessions. Sigismund signified his consent, and 
tlie whole assembly passed iuto the Cathedral, where after 
mass Dandolo took the oath of fealty. The diploma of 
investiture gave the Doge the title of Duke of Treviso, Feltre, 
Bellimo, Ceueda, Padua, Brescia, Bergamo, Casalm^giore, 
Boncino, Peschiera, and defined Venetian possessions as all 



territory di qiiA, that is east of the Adda. The fine upon 
which these fiefs were held, was a web of gold cloth 
valued at 1000 ducats, to be presented to the 
Emperor each year at Christmas. 

The arrest and execution of Carmagnola did not conclude 
the Milanese war. It was maintained under the leader- 
ship of one of the Proveditari, Giorgio Corner, who displayed 
the activity which might be looked for in a native not a 
mercenary captain ; but he proved to be no match for the 
trained generals of Visconti He pushed forward as far as the 
Valtelliue ; there he was shut in by Piccinino, and forced 
to surrender. He was sent as a prisoner to Milan, where 
he suffered horrible tortures in order to extract from him 
the names of the Venetians who had accused Carmagnola. 
When the news reached Venice the Republic found itself 
once more obliged to have recourse to a mercenary captain- 
general, and she elected Gian Francesco Gonzaga to fill her 
treacherous leader*s place. 

It is not necessary for us to follow in detaU the long 
and complicated series of campaigns which devastated Nortli 
Italy from 1432 to 1447. There was a continual struggle 
between the two great northern powers for the possession 
of Lombardy, Venice endeavouring to hold what she had 
acquired and to extend beyond the Adda, Visconti using 
every effort, every ruse, every political combination, in order 
to recover the lost provinces of Brescia and Bergamo. In 
the long contest both powers exhausted their resources, 
while their captains — Piccinino and Delia Pergola for the 
Duke, Gonzaga and Gattamelata for the Bepublic, and 
Sforza, now for one and now for the other — marched and 
counter - marched, and played their elaborate and costly 
game of war. There are picturesque and moving details in 
abundance ; Piccinino besieged Brescia, and the city, in her 
affection for the rule of Venice, held out against unheard-of 
sufiterings. Gattamelata, attempting its relief, foimd himself 
shut in between the Lago di Garda and the Alps ; it seemed 
that he would be forced to lay down his arms, but by a 
daring march, which won for him the esteem of all military 
critics, he passed through the mountains, rounded the north 


head of the lake, and emerged upon tbe Lonilmrd plain by 
the Val Caprine in Valpollicella above Verona, and 
thereby threw an urmy between. Viscouti's troops 
and the lagoons. The Venetians, desiring to relieve their 
faithfid city of Brescia, found that it was necessary to 
place a flotilla on the Lago tU Garda, the object of 
which was either to couvey provisions into the Bres- 
ciano, by way of SalA, or to draw the Milanese troops up 
towards that side of the lake and so to leave the land 
road to Brescia open. The ships, six galleys and twenty- 
five lighter boats, were built at Venice, taken up the Adige 
to Mori, just below Ala, and there placed upon rollers 
and greased boai'ds ; more than 2000 oxen were em- 
ployed to haul them upliill, into the waters of the little 
lake of S. Andrea, From S. Andrea they were hauled 
in like fashion, over a depression in Monte Baldo, and 
gradually lowered ilown the western slope till they reached 
the lake at Torbole — a feat of remarkable skill and 
course. Sforza, attempting to relieve Brescia, defeated 
Piccinino aud his Milanese troops ; Ficcinino himself oulj 
escaped by being carried in a suck on the shoulders of one 
of his men, down to SaI6 on Garda. But he instantly 
crossed the lake, and before Sforza had time to measure his 
victory, he was informed that Piccinino was in possession of 
Verona, So, with varying success, the long war continued, 
till Brescia was relieved in 1440, and Visconti 
agreed to a peace in 14-41. In the same year 
Venice entered upon the formal possession of Ravenna, 
which she had virtually held for the last thirty-five years 
as guardian aud remainder-heir to the Polentani, Lords of 
that city. This important step southward involved her, 
however, in a dispute with the Court of Home, which 
claimed that territory as a fief of the Church ; and Venice 
found herself obliged to do homage to the Church for the 
fief of Ravenna in 1451. 

The struggle with Visconti was developing yearly more 
and more complications ; the rise of Francesco Sforza, his 
ability as a general, aud the strength of his army, really 
£ave him the control of North Italian politics, and we find 


iiui changing about from one service to the other. Matters 
wvw in this dubious condition when Filippo Maria 
uit\i suddenly, after six days* illness, at the Castle 
ot' Porta Zobbia in 1447. 

Instantly the whole aspect of affairs was changed. 
The great question now arose who should possess Alilan. 
Filippo had left no male heirs ; liis one daughter, Biauca, 
was married to Sforza, and gave him some colour of a 
right to succeed. But the house of Orleans also put 
in its claim upon the Milanese which it held through 
Valentine Visconti, the mother of Charles of Orleans. 
The appearance of this French claim is a most important 
event in the history of North Italy, and opens up an epoch 
of Italian politics which, for many years to come, will be 
found to centre round the rival pretensions of France 
and Spain to the Duchy of Milan. But there were other 
factors in the problem besides Sforza and Charles of Orleans ; 
the Milanese people desired to erect a Eepublic ; and finally 
Venice herself would have been glad to become mistress of 
a city whose lords had cost her so much trouble as 

On the death of Filippo the Milanese declared a liepublic; 
the Visconti possessions fell to pieces ; neighbouring cities 
like Lodi and Piacenza, jealous of Milan, gave themselves 
up to Venice. The Eepublic of the lagoons offered to 
support the new Eepublic of the plains, on condition that she 
was allowed to retain Lodi and Piacenza. The Milanese 
demurred. Meantime Sforza in his own interests had seizetl 
Pavia and Piacenza. He was at open war with the Eepublic 
of Venice. He soon became master of most of their Lombani 
possessions ; he refused to treat with Venice on the basis of 
ceding Cremona. After a long period of vacillation, during 
which Venice was uncertain whether she would join Sforzii 
or support the Eepublic, the situation was cleared by Sforza's 
successful attack on Milan. The city opened its 
gates to him on 25th March 1450, and he was 
pix)claimed Duke of Milan on the following day. 

To Venice Sforza was no more acceptable a neighbour than 
Visconti had been. His ambition was as great ; he claimed 



the Visconti dominions in right of his wife, and tliat claim 
3 a threat to the Venetian tenure of Bergamo and 

Brescia; he was an able general, and in possession 
of a splendid army. But Venice was unwilling, indeed 
hardly able, to fight the new Duke of Milan. Her treasury 
was exhausted, and an event which will presently occupy 
our attention, the fall of Constantinople, came as a shock to 
all Europe, inclining men's minds to peace. 

An accord betwenn Venice and Milan was concluded at 

Lodi on 9th April 1454 ; by it Venice secured 
^ ■ her possession of Brescia and Bergamo, and acquired 
Crema and Treviglio. This peace was followed by a 
defensive alliance between Sforza, Florence, and Venice ; 
the contracting parties bound themselves for the next 
twenty-five years to a common protection of their respective 

While Venice was thus occupied with her wars iu 
Lombardy, a series of events in the East was leading up to 
the final collapse of the Eastern Empire, and the capture of 
Constantinople by the Tnrks. Tiie general conditions of 
Europe, the universal wars — in Hungary against the Huss- 
ites, in Italy between Venice and Milan, in France against 
the English, in Spain against the Moors — rendered it im- 
possible to send any effectual aid to the impotent Emperors 
of the East. Venice had done what she could, but she 
was lujsupported by Europe, and did not intend to ruin 
her trade by an ineflicient warfare against the Turks when it 
was open to her to trade with them instead. Hungary too, 
another interested power whose frontiers touched the Otto- 
man borders, had also endeavoured to support the Eastern 
Empire, but in her isolation she, like Venice, was compelled 
to make peace. Already Turkish mosques and Turkish courts 
of justice existed at Constantinople. It was only a question 
what moment the Mussulmans would choose to make their 
possession of the Imperial city complete. At each new step 
forward the Republic sent ambassadors to confirm tlie exist- 
ing coBimercial treaties, and to secure the safety of Venetian 
property in the levant After Murad's siege of Constan- 
tinople, which he abandoned in 1423, Venice despatched 



Jacopo Dandolo to beg from the Sultan the restoration of the \ 
territory of Salonika. He refused, and laid siege to 
the city. It fell after a short resistance, and was 
treated with the greatest barbarity. In 1430 Venice J 
signed the peace of Adrianople, by which the Sultao I 
promised to leave her in free enjoyment of her commerce, J 
while alie paid a yearly tribute for the possession of 1 
Lepanto, Scutari, and Alesaio. Venice, hampered by her I 
Lombard struggle with Visconti, and unwilling to risk i 
nipttire with the Turk, took no part in Hminiady's glorious 1 
victory of Nissa, nor in the second campaign which was I 
ended by the defeat of Varna (1444). 

In 1449 the Emperor, John Paleologus, died. Of his \ 
brothers, Demetrius and Constantine, the latter ascended tlie I 
throne ; and two years later, in 1451, Mohammed II. became J 
Sultan of the Turks. He very soon showed the ambitiooB f 
nature of his designs. He began by building a fort on the { 
European side of the Bosphorus. There could be no doubt a 
to the meaning of this step. In February 1452 Constantine 1 
sent to implore the help of Venice. The Senate replied that J 
the Lombard war prevented her from acting singly in the \ 
matter, but that she would willingly combine with other 4 
European powers, if the Emperor succeeded iu inducing them [ 
to come to his aid. 

Meantime at Constantinople the Turkish army was ] 
pressing closer and closer round the city. The Emperor J 
caused the gates to be closed, and the siege began. Alohammed f 
had cast a great cannon in Adrianople, with which he | 
intended to destroy the walls that had hitherto resisted all 
Turkish assaults. The Eepublic sent orders to Gabriel 
Trevisan, vice-captain of the Gulf, to sail for Constantinople, 'j 
with a view to protecting Venetian shipping, and to a^ist in 
holding the city, if that were possible. He entered the port i 
of Constantinople, and shortly after him, by a strange piece ' 
of irony, arrived the Cardinal Isodore, sent to celebrate the 
union of the two Churches ; a union decreed by the Western i 
Church when not even at union inside itself, and accepted I 
by the Eastern Church which was on the point of losing its J 
capital. The day after this ceremony, the 14th Decembeiij 

couucil was held on board one of the \''euetian galleys, 
at wliich the Cardinal implored the Venetian coni- 
iiiaiiders not to abandoa the city. The captain 
replied that his orders were not to stay more than ten days 
in those parts. If the merchants choae to sail with him, 
well and good ; if not, he would go without them. The 
Venetians of Constantinople, however, refused to allow their 
compatriots to sail, and retained them by force ; sending, at 
the same time, a message to Venice to excuse the captains 
for this invohmtaiy breach of orders. 

The siege was opened iii form on 6th April, and on the 
15th of the some month the Turkish fleet blockaded the 
harbour. A slight diversion was caused by the arrival of a 
Genoese squadron and one imperial galley. The Turks, though 
far superior in strength, failed to prevent them from entering 
the harbour. On the 28th an attempt was made to destroy 
the Turkish fleet with fireships, but failed. The Emperor 
still relied on help from Venice : day by day he expected 
the coming of the Venetian fleet : day by day his hopes fell 
lower. At last, on 3rd May, he summoned the commanders 
of the Venetian ships, and said : " Captains and nobles of 
Venice, ye perceive that the Signory sends me no fleet to suc- 
cour this unhappy city ; it would be well to send a light boat 
out to sea in the direction of Negropont, tliat, should she 
fall in with the Venetian fleet, she may hasten its coming." 
That same night the little vessel, flying the Turkish flag, with 
her crew in Turkish dress, stole out, and sailed away south. 
But no Venetian fleet was in those waters, and the pinnace 
returned to Constantinople with the disheartening news. 

Though all hope had now disappeared Constantine held 
out. He rejected an offer to spare the city if it surrendered 
at once. Then Mohammed gave the order for the assault. On 
Monday, 28th May, the Emperor received the sacrament in 
S. Sophia. On the following day at dawn the Turks 
attacked. The assault was severest at the gate of S. Eomano, 
which was bravely defended for a time ; but at length tlie 
Genoese, Giustinian Longo, was wounded and fled. A panic 
seized the garrison. The Turks poured into tlie city. Tlie 
£mperor died fighting to the last. " He called upon his men 



to kill him; he rushed into the mel^e with his sword 

drawn, fell, rose again, fell once more, and so died." 

His body was buried under a mound of his followers. 

The Venetians, such of them as had not fallen in the battle, 

saved themselves on board tlieir galleys, which immediately 

set sail and reached a place of safety. 

Thus, while Venice on the mainland was brought face 
to face with a new combination of circumstances by the 
death of Visconti, the rise of Sforza, and the appearance 
of the French claim to Milan, she was confronted by new 
conditions in the East, through the fall of Constantinople, 
and the advent of the Turkish power. She assisted in 
feebly defending the Imperial city which in 1204 she had 
vigorously attacked; and the fall of Constantinople in 
1453, with all the consequences which it entailed, was in 
no small measure due to Venetian action in the fourth 
Crusade. The disastrous results of her Italian policy, of 
her complications on the mainland, and her destruction of 
Genoa, left her unable to render any efficient aid to the 
Eastern Empire, in whose preservation she was vitally 

Nor was it merely in the external aspect of her rela- 
tions to Italy and to Constantinople that altered conditions 
were manifesting themselves for Venice. Internally, in her 
private and domestic life, the new order, the changed circum- 
stances, were making themselves felt We have seen how 
tlie election of the Doge presented some ominous features 
indicative of incipient corruption ; and that tendency con- 
tinued to declare itself throughout his reign till it ended 
in the tragic fate of the Doge's son and the humiliation of 
Foscari himself. In 1433 a plot had been discovered in 
which thirty -seven nobles conspired together with a view 
to securing government appointments for themselves and 
those who bought tlieir support. Their object was to make 
a corner in State offices by a careful manipulation of the 
Maggior Comiglio. The Ten, before whom the matter was 
brought as a question of public safety, dealt stringently 
with the offenders. Many were banished, and all were 
excluded from office, either in perpetuity or for a term of 



years. In 1444 Jacopo Foscari, the Doge's sou, was a 

of having received bribes and presents as the price of 
his influence in the disposal of offices of State. His 
servants were arrested, but Jacopo, dreading the issue of a 
warrant against himself, escaped. Tlie trial was continued 
ii3 his absence, and the evidence of his servants revealed the 
presence of a chest in the Doge's private house, in which 
were the gifts which Jacopo had received and papers bearing 
upon the subject. This chest was impounded, and after 
having examined it, the Council of Ten proceeded to pronounce 
its sentence that Jacopo be banished to Nauplia in the 
Peloponnesus. The sentence was read in the Great Council. 
Jacopo, when he Hed from justice, had taken refuge in Trieste, 
and tlie execution of the sentence seems to have been allowed 
to stand over. It was published in February 1445, and in 
March the Dogaressa, Jacopo's mother, asked leave to go to 
Trieste to visit her son. Tiiia was refused. In April the 
sentence received confirmation, bat no steps were taken to 
carry it into effect ; and in June of the next year we find the 
Ten complaining that nothing had as yet been done to execute 
I its decrees. Moi'e surprising still, five months later the Ten 
consented to alter the place of buniahment from Nauplia to 
Treviso, on account of Jacopo's ill liealth. The discovery of 
a chest full of money and plate, sent by Francesco Sforza 
to Foscari, did not move the Ten to any severer measures ; 
and in 1447 a petition from the Doge that Ida son miglit 
be allowed to return to Venice met with acceptance, on the 
ground that it was necessary, for the good of the State, that 
the Prince should have his mind free and serene, which was 
impossible under the pi-esent circumstances in which his 
son Vfiis placed. Jacopo returned to Venice, and seems to , 
have passed three years in quiet. But on 5th December 
1450, Ermolao Donato, who had been one of the Ciifi of 
the Ten at the time of Foscari's first trial, was murdered 
while leaving the ducal palace. Suspicion did not attacli 
to Jacopo at first. Others were arrested, but set at liberty. 
High rewards were offered for information. At last, in 
January 1451, a denunciation of Jacopo Foscari, signed by 
Antonio Venier, was submitted to the Ten. There was no 



direct proof forthcomiug, and ouly the meagreat circani'^ 
stantial evidence — the loose words of some of his 
servants — to convict Foscari ; uevertheless a motion, 
made in the Ten, to abandon the prosecution was rejected. 1 
Jacopo himself, under torture, revealed nothing. But the Ten 
seem to have felt that they had gone too far to withdraw, and , 
so. as they express it, " under the necessity of bringing this 1 
case to a close," and " in the certainty that Jacopo Foscari i 
is guilty, though it has been impossible to wring a confession i 
from his own lips," he is relegated to the island of Candia. | 
The sentence was published in the Magifior Consiglio, and 
announced privately to the Doge, who had taken no part in j 
the trial of his son. In March 1453 Jacopo was deported j 
to Candia, But even there he did not remain quiet. For . 
shortly after his arrival he seems to have entered into | 
correspondence with the Turk, in the hope of being assisted | 
to escape. This news caused the Ten to meet once mora | 
for the consideration of his case. A motion was made • 
declaring that, owing to his foolishness and considering the 
place in which he was confined, where he could do but 
little harm, it would be sufBcient that the governor should 
administer a severe reprimand. An amendment, proposing 
to bring Jacopo home and to place him on his trial, waa 
carried, however. He arrived on the 21st July. The trial 
was a brief one ; the prisoner offered no defence. The Ten 
proceeded to sentence ; one proposal was to send him back 
to Candia, another to behead liim between the columns of the 
Piazzctta. The milder measure gained the day. Jacopo was 
allowed to see his father before returning to exile. He made 
an appeal to the Doge r " My father," he said, " procure for 
me that I may return to my home."^ — " Jacopo," replied the 
Doge, "go, and obey the orders of your countiy, nor seek 
ought beyond." After his son had left his presence the 
old man fell back in liia chair, crying, " pirtd. grmtde ! " 
Jacopo was reconveyed to Candia, but the ducal party did 
not cease to labour for his release, and they were 
on the point of succeeding, when news of Jacopo's 
death arrived. 

This was a final blow to the tottering health of the , 



[ aged Duke. Worn out by a long and momentous reign, 
mortally wounded in hia own family circle, Francesco 
Foscari withdrew from public life. He ceased to 
attend the sittings of the various councils, and caused much 
embarrassment to the Government. The Council of Ten 
resolved to invite the Doge to resign, Thia was an infringe- 
ment of the statutea, which required that such a request 
should come from the Great Council. Foscari told the re- 
presentatives of the Ten that such was the case, and declined 
to abdicate. But the Ten insisted. It was useless for the 
Doge to struggle against the real masters of the State. The 
old man bowed to a positive order that he must abdi- 
cate and quit the palace within eight days. Aa the com- 
missioners of the Ten were leaving the room, one of the 
younger men, Jacopo Memmo, looked with compassion on 
the fallen prince. Foscari caught the look. " Whose son 
art thou ? " be said. " I am the son of Messer Marin 
Memmo."— " My dear good friend," replied Foscari, "tell 
him to come and see me. We will go and amuse ourselves 
in a boat, rowing to the monasteries." So, on 24th October 
1457, Francesco Foscari left the palace, where he had 
reigned for thirty-four years, to the great glory and the 
inevitable ruin of bis country, Aa he passed down to his 
gondola he refused to take the covered atair. " No, no," 
he aaid ; " I will descend by the way I came up to my 

This whole episode in the private life of the Foscari 
family is valuable chiefly for the light it throws upon 
the internal history of Venice. We are clearly in an 
atmosphere unknown before. The Council of Ten is 
all-powerful ; it even usurps functions which do not belong 
to it by the constitution. The air ia charged with plots, 
suspicion, assassination, denunciation, spies — all the para- 
phernalia which went to confirm the popular legend as to 
the terrible nature of the Diixi. We have reached the 
beginning of that period in which the noble caste, after 
winning its battle against the people and the Doge, fell a 
victim to a haunting terror of itself, to a blind dread of its 
own members, which can only be explained on the supposition 


that Venetians lived in terror lest their State should suffer 
the doom of all its ItaUan neighbours, and pass 
under the domination of a single ruler. 

If we look at the sum total of Foscari's reign, the 
outcome of all these years of activity for Venice, we find 
that the Eepublic had increased her landed territory by the 
addition of two great provinces — Bergamo and Brescia. 
She acquired a preponderating position in Italian politics, 
and obtained recognition as a European power of much 
importance. But the price had been enormous. The first 
ten years of the war alone cost her 7,000,000 ducats; 
her debt, instead of decreasing, rose from 6,000,000 to 
13,000,000. Venetian funds fell to 18^; the Eepublic 
was forced to anticipate her revenues from her subject 
provinces. The death of Visconti brought her up against 
French claims in the Milanese ; the loss of Constantinople 
left her to deal with the powerful and victorious Turk in the 
East. Externally there was much pomp and splendour. 
The Imperial investiture of the mainland provinces flattered 
the national vanity; the Emperor John Paleologus was 
received with lavish splendour; the marriage of Jacopo 
Foscari, in 1441, was one of the most magnificent ceremonies 
which the State had ever celebrated — the Companions of 
the Hose caracoled about the Piazza, dressed in velvet 
brocaded with silver fringes, crimson velvet doublets, open 
sleeves, and squirrels' fur caps, each of the eighteen followed 
by six servants, all on horseback, dressed in gorgeous liveries. 
Venice never looked more splendid than she did just now, 
and all this pomp seemed but the fitting counterpart to her 
extraordinary development on the mainland. 

But underneath this bravery there lurked the official 
corruption of the nobles, the suspicion of the Ten, the first 
signs of bank failures, the increase in the national debt, the 
fall in the value of the funda Land wars and landed 
possessions drew the Venetians from the sea to terra ferma. 
The pure Venetian strain in the navy declined ; its place 
was taken by subjects like the Dalmatians and the Morlacchs. 
Venice was forsaking her native element. The beginning of 
the end had arrived. 


The poMitiiity o[ Vaaiea cenaing to be a city St«U »nd becoming a 
territorial State— The enomiea of Venice — Perilous state of Venios — 
Ontward splendonr — Paaqualt MaiipieTO, Doge — Cri^/tforo Mora, Doge — 
Torks in the Morea — Failure of Pius II. "b Crusade — Venioo slaglo- 
handcd against Turk— ^Turkish fleet — Venice tries to eonulnde a peace 
with Turks— Fails— Fresh Turkish fleet — Venetian armament— Nicolo 
CaDal at Negropout — Lou of the island — Arrest and trial of Canal — 
Fietro Mocenigo in command— Cost of the ii-sr- Exhaustion of treasory 
— Attempt to make peace — Attack on Scutari : its defence by Loredan 
— Fietro ifoeenigo. Doge — CoUeoni's legaty — Impoveriahmunt of the 
Bxcheijacr — ^Torms of peace with the Sultan — Andrta VendraniiH, 
Doge — The Turks seize Cran to ^ Accusations against Venice — 
Ferrarese war — A war tax — Issue of government hond»— ^The Pope 
interferes — Venice under an interdict — Attitude of Venice — The war 
UDsticeesaful — Coalition against Venice— FinaQciaJ exhaustion — Invita- 
tion to the Duke of Orleans to claim Milan — Peace of Bagnolo — 
The icquisitioQ ot Cyprus — Affairs of Cyprus^ Giacomo Luaignnn 
marries Caterina Coniaro — Caterina's story — Marco Barbarigo, Doge — 
AgoXijui Barbarigo, Doge- Caterina forced to renounce Cypriis : her 
life at Asolo ; her death — Discovery of the Cape passage — Keaulta to 
Tenioe — Pietro Paaqnaligo in Lisbon: his report — The epoch of 
Jiplomscy — Numerous combinations among lUlian princes^A new 
element, the intervention of ultramontane powers — Galenzzo Sforza's 
warning to Venice — Lodovico Sforia'a invitation to Charles VIII.^ — 
Venice attempts to preserve a neutral position — Charles's olTen to Venice — 
Charles in Italy — Commtnes in Venice — League against Charles — Battle 
of Fomovo— Maximilian in Italy— Death of Charles VIII.— Louis XII. 
— Oeorge d'Amboise — Cesare Borgia — Venice embraces the French canse 
— Price of her treachery the Milanese — Lodovico Sforia replies by 
ronuDg the Turk againat Venice — Despatch of a Venetian ambassador at 
the Porte shows that the Turk is bent on war — Antonio Grimani, 
commander— Disastrous battle of Sapienis — Grimani tried and banished 
— The French occupy Milan — Cesare Borpa — DAmboise and the 
Emperor arrange a partition of Venetian territory — LtoiutTdo Lortdimo, 
Doge — Isolation of Venice— Death of Alexander VI.— Julius II. deter, 
mined to recover States of the Church h«Id by Venice — The enemies 
of Venice coalesce at Cambtay — ^Venetian wealth ; and real weakness. 


The reign of Francesco Foscari appeared, no doubt, to 
Venice, to Italy, and to Europe, a period of great glory 
for the Republic. Brescia, Bergamo, Bavenna were 
permanent acquisitions. It seemed possible that Venice 
might change her character, and, ceasing to be a purely city 
State whose whole life had been commercial, might become a 
territorial State with a career of conquest before her. Such 
an experiment would have been quite new to North Italy, a 
country which had never possessed other than city States, a 
country in which the idea of a territorial State seems hardly 
to have presented itself to the minds even of its acutest 
statesmen — ^to Machiavelli, to Guicciardini, to GiannottL 
Whether Venice could have achieved a conversion of this 
nature, whether she even possessed the idea of such a 
development, is very doubtful. But had the peace of Lodi, 
which put an end to the long Lombard war, proved an 
enduring peace, had Venice been allowed a breathing space 
in which to adjust herself to her new acquisitions, she might 
possibly have succeeded in making the conversion from a 
city to a territorial State. She was proceeding upon the 
right lines of good and sound government ; she soon attached 
her dependencies on the mainland, and, had peace been granted 
her, she might have developed a form of government which 
would have made those dependencies integral parts of one 
dominion, not merely a number of districts attached to a 
capital by bonds which were more or less feeble. 

But events moved too rapidly. Italy at the close of the 
fifteenth century seemed to be seized with a vertigo ; Italian 
politics became more and more shamelessly egotistic ; the con- 
fusion produced by the period of the despots and the career of 
the condottieri, left no well-defined boundaries between State 
and State; each prince sought feverishly to aggrandise himself, 
or endeavoured, by complicated political combinations, to pre- 
vent his neighbour from extending his borders. Venice found 
no time to consolidate her new land empire, the possession of 
which brought her into collision with so many conflicting 
claims. The Duke of Milan demanded Bergamo and Brescia ; 
the occupation of Eavenna exposed her to hostility from 
Home. Moreover the Venetians themselves were seized by 


the prevalent desire for empire ; the greed for landed posses- 
sions grew upon them, and, as the violent revolutions 

"' of Italian politics gave them opportunity, we find 
them endeavouring to press westward across the Adda and 
southward into the Romagna, arousing fresh antagonism at 
each step, and confirming the growing belief in the " insatiable 
cupidity of the Venetians, and their thirst for dominion," 
which the preamble of the treaty of Cambray sets forth aa 
the reason for the formation of that avenging League. 

Everywhere troubles thicken round the path of the 
Kepublic— jealousy of rivals ; ruinous expenses which 
cripple the exchequer, aggravated by the fall of Con- 
stantinople, and the sudden cessation of the eastern trade ; 
a steady decline in the value of the funds ; the ominous 
spectacle of a growing deficit, in spite of a growing 
territory; the final blow to Venetian commerce by the 
discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good Hope, 
And, in the midst of all these complications, Venice is 
called upon to perform more than any other State in Italy. 
Europe was clamorous that she should do her duty by the 
Turk, should fight him to the last drop of her blood and the 
last penny of her treasury ; but slie was left alone to 
carry out this commission ; and if, under the intolerable 
burden, she found herself forced to make peace, Europe 
declaimed against her defection, and proposed to erase this 
foe to Cliristianity. On the other hand, a fate which she 
could not escape was slowly drawing the Republic into the 
jaws of the greater European powers — France, the Empire, 
and Spain, who, invited by Italy herself, were about to 
repeat the barbarian invasions of tlie sixth, seventh, and 
eighth centuries. 

During all this disa-strous period, which really closes the 
vital history of Venice, it is not men who are lacking 
to the Republic. We shall find many instances of shrewd 
ability, and of high personal courage. Tiiere are characters 
as vigorous as Vettor Pisani or Carlo Zeno, who illustrate 
Venetian history. It is rather that the central govern- 
ment seems paralysed, the head dizzy, aghast at the com- 
plications in wliich the State was involved by her mainland 


policy, aiid without aufficieut time to adjust itself to I 
new order of things, which moved so rapidly that 
it might rather be called no order at all. 

And yet, while the Republic was really hurlii 
headlong to its ruin, the outward pomp, the glory, the 
splendour of Venice were juat beginning to attract the eyes 
of Europe, blinding many Venetians and all foreigners to 
the real aspect of the situation. Venice was acquiring 
her reputation as the city of magnificent private life, the 
city of " masks and balls begun at midnight, burning 
ever to mid-day "; the city, too, of sfraiata lascivia, the 
" Gehenna of the Waters," This is the period when her 
great palaces arose, in all their pomp of balcony and pillared 
windows and frescoed facades, along the Grand Canal; 
when Vivarini, Carpaccio, and Bellini were preluding to 
Titian, Giorgione, Tintoret ; when Bessarion presented his 
priceless codicea to the Marician Library ; when the colony 
of Greek scribes was endeavouring to hold its own against 
the new invention of printing, against John of Speyer's 
Epistola. Familiares and Jenaon's Ad Attumm; when 
Aldus, by hia brilliant, earnest, passionate scholarship, and 
his practical acumen in the conduct of hia press, began 
to render the Greek classics the common property V 

It would seem that, juat as the rapid esteosion of 
Venice on the mainland under Franceaco Foscari was the 
blossom of all her long centuries of physical and constitu- 
tional growth, so the sudden artistic expansion of the later 
fifteenth century was the flowering of Venice in the intel- 
lectual and emotional region. The bloom presaged dec&y. 
Death waa already at the roots before the flower l|jH 
opened to its fullest splendour. ^H 

In tracing the complicated history of Venice Irom fl^| 
death of Foscari to the declaration of the League of Cam- 
bray in 1508, and in order to show what Venice was 
called upon to do and how she failed to do it ; how she 
waa slowly ruined — bled to death — in the East and on the 
mainland of Italy, by circumatancea which were largely the 
result of her own previous actions ; how she received har 


eoMp de, grace from the League of Cambray and the discovery 
of the Cape route to India, it will be most con- 
venient to follow events in three sections, which, 
however, interlace at certain points — the Levant, commerce, 
and Italian mainland. 

The peace of Lodi, in 1454, had settled the affairs of 
Lombardy as between Venice and the new Duke of Milan. 
Venice might have looked forward to some years of repose, 
which would have allowed her to restore her shattered 
finance and to consolidate and absorb her new mainland 
possessions ; but Constantinople had fallen the year before 
the peace was concluded. The Turks were now masters of 
the Levant, and it was inevitable that their first collision 
should be with Venice, the European power most nearly 
interested in that quarter of the Mediterranean. By means 
of her ambassador, Eartolomeo Marcello, the Republic had 
arranged a treaty with Mohammed the Conqueror in 1454 ; 
while the Pope, under the influence of ^neas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, was endeavouring to prepare a Crusade. 
Europe, however, was too deeply occupied with its own 
domestic dissensions ; no European State had as large 
an interest in the Levant as Venice; upon Venice the 
Boverejgns of Europe determined to throw the whole burden 
of the Turkish war. By the year 1460 the Con- 
queror was in the Morea; in 1462 he captured 
Mytilene, and proved that he intended to contest the 
whole Levant with the Eepublic, by constructing an arsenal 
at Constantinople, and preparing that fleet which aubee- 
guently showed itself more than a match for the Venetian 

^neas Sylvius ascended the throne of S. Peter in 1458, 
88 Pius 11., and the ardour for a Crusade which inspired 
his nunciatures was by no means diminished. His ambas- 
fiador. Cardinal Bessarion, came to Venice to ui^e upon the 
Itepublic the duty of abandoning its neutral attitude, and of 
adopting active measures against the Turk. Bessarion 
found Venice already committed to a war, brought about 
by Mohammed's incursions in the Morea. Alvise Loredan, 
tbe Captain-General, had fortified the isthmus of Corinth by 


a wall 6 miles long, 12 feet high, with a double ditch and 
136 towers ; in the middle was an altar, and over 
it floated the banner of S. Mark. But the Vene- 
tians failed to hold this bulwark, and the Turks r^ained 
possession of the Morea. Under these circumstances 
Bessarion succeeded in persuading Venice to join a league of 
the Pope, the Duke of Burgundy, and the King of Hungary. 
Pius II. strained every nerve to render the Crusade effectual 
He resolved to sail in person, and compelled his cardinals to 
follow him to Ancona, where he intended to take ship on 
board the Venetian fleet ; but when he arrived at that port 
he found neither soldiers nor money, nor any signs of that 
splendid army of the Cross which he had fondly pictured in 
the fever of his enthusiasm. The Pope, broken-hearted, 
retired to his bed, from which he never rosa Meanwhile 
Venice had fulfilled her part of the contract, and the Doge, 
imder pressure from his Council, set sail in August. He 
arrived in Ancona only to find the Pope dying, and 
the whole expedition a lamentable failure; he 
returned home to Venice that same month. 

The Eepublic was now left alone to carry on single-handed 
a war which she had undertaken in the expectation of 
European support. Her treaties with the Sultan were of no 
avail, for he was resolved to ignore them on any occasion 
which suited his purposes. Venice no longer enjoyed any 
weight at Constantinople, and she was soon to feel acutely 
the change which her position had undergone by the fall of 
the Greek Empire. 

Letters reached Venice from Antonio Michiel, a Venetian 
merchant, resident in Constantinople, warning the Govern- 
ment that the Sultan was making large navd. preparations 
for the coming March, and was arming his Christian subjects. 
" This fleet of two hundred sail," continues the despatch, " is 
intended for Negropont. But the Government need not be 
alarmed if it can man forty light galleys, twenty great ships, 
from five to six hundred tons each, with crews of one 
hundred men apiece, and ten big galleys. Matters here 
call for serious attention ; they are not to be treated lightly 
to the deceiving of ourselves. The Turks estimate that the 

inclined to over-estimate their enemy's strength, and so 
they make their preparations regardless of expense ; we 
ought to do the same." Sound advice, doubtless, but how 
■was Venice to profit by it with a deht of 13,000,000 
ducats, and an empty treasury ? The Government was dis- 
posed rather to attempt the way of diplomacy. In May 
1465 an ambassador, accompanied by a certain David, a 
Jew, was sent to Constantinople to open negotiations in the 
name of Venice and of Hungary. But they found the 
ground undermined ; Italian jealousy of the Republic reached 
even to the Bosphorus ; (lenoa and Florence checked every 
Venetian move for peace ; and tlie Grand Vizier, Mahniud, 
insulted the Venetian representative to Lis face when he 
said, "The despot of Servia sent all his treasure to support 
Hungary and got snuffed out like a candle for his pains. 
You say that you are treating in the name of Hungary, but 
Hungary has iiifonned us that she will not have shopkeepers 
making peace on her behalf" — the first time, for many 
centuries, that Venice had been forced to swallow an affront 
in the city where she was accustomed to command, 

Operations against Persia diverted the attention of the 

Turk for a while. But, in 1469, a letter from Girolanio 

Longo, captain on hoard the fleet, roused all the Venetian 

fears once more. Tlie Turkish armada was out ; it had 

[ seized the Castle of Imbros. and attempted that of Stalimene. 

"At first," says Longo, " I thought that the fleet numbered 

j three hundred sail, now I calculate it at four hundred. 

I The whole sea bristled like a pine forest l)o not be sur- 

I prised that the Turk has been able to arm such a fleet, for, 

I during the last sixteen years, he has been building new 

I ahipa every year. The Turks row very well with a quick 

' Btroke. Tiieir galleys are not so good as om-s under oar ; 

but in their sails and all else they are better found. From 

van to rearguard their fleet measured over six miles. Here 

we want deeds, not words. In my opinion we require not lesa 


than a. huliilred good galleys, and I am not aure if even t 
number will suffice. Now is the moment for the 
Government to show its power. Setting aside 
every other consideration, it must send us at once £ 
men, bread, and money ; otherwise N^ropont will be i 
danger, and with it all our Levant possessions, and l 
Adriatic as far as Istria; for next year the Turk will 1 
half as strong again." This estimate, and the demand based 
upon it, was endorsed by the Captain -General, Nicole CanaL 
Clearly neither Lou go nor Canal had any doubt thai 
the home Government could send out the fleet required, if 
she chose. But in Venice arsenal itself, let us see what 
reply the Republic was really able to give to this appeal 
The Turk had been building ships for the last sixteen years ; 
for the last forty, Venice bad been spending recklessly. 
Her commanders asked for at least one hundred sliips. 
She now raised, by loans, 200,000 ducats, and armed 
fifteen great ships, of three hundred tons and upwards, 
fourteen great galleys, and some lighter craft. The pro- 
vinces offered supplies of biscuits, corn, and money ; and 
the Government made a piteous appeal to the Pope, declar- 
ing she had done all she cuuld — she hod sent ships, men, 
and money, she had drained the last drop in her veins, but 
unsupported she was powerless. Canal's squadron, there- 
fore, numbered in all fifty-two galleys, eighteen ships of 
war, and some other craft ; under eighty sail in alL 

This fleet was concentrated at Negropont, with orders to 
defend that island. In July the Turkish armada 
entered the channel between the island and the * 

continent, while the Sultan in person arrived by land at tj 
head of his army, A bridge of boats was thrown across 
tilt! narrow straits, and half the Turkish force passed OTet 
and encamped on the island ; the siege of the city began. 
The extreme danger of the strongliold was announced to 
Nicolo Canal, and he advanced to its support, entering the 
narrow channel by the mouth opposite to that which had given 
access to the Turks, He had a fair wind and the tide with 
him; his vessels were making fifteen miles an hour; before 
him lay the bridge which joined the Turkish camp and the 



mainland ; on the other side of the biidge, the Tuikiah fleet 
His officei's wished him to keep the way on his 
1 to charge and cut the bridge, thus divid- 
ing the Turkish host in two. But Canal was timorous. 
He let go his sheets, put down his heim, slued round into 
the wind, and called a council of war. The wind changed, 
the tide set the other way, and the opportunity for break- 
ing the bridge was lost. So was Negropont, after a brave 
but hopeless resistance ; the men, women, and children 
contesting the town, street by street, with boiling water, 
quicklime, barrels, beams, any weapon which came to hand. 
The Turks took their usual terrible revenge, regardless of 
sex or age 

When the news reached Venice the Government resolved 
to recall and to prosecute Canal, Perhaps they were 
expecting too much from a commander to whom they had 
sent some forty vessels in reply to an appeal for about 
double that number, and sent them too late ; Canal may 
have argued that if his fleet were anuiliilated there was 
nothing to prevent the Turk from sailing up the Adriatic 
to Venice itself. But the fact remains that he did not 
charge the bridge, as he was urged to do by liis officers, 
and that he displayed a timidity and vacillation which we 
shall have to note more than once in Venetian admirals 
— a timidity wliich was, in all probability, the residt of that 
eeverity of judgment, coupled with weakness of action, 
which characterised the home Government at this period, 
end robbed aU its officials of the courage to adopt a free 
and vigorous line of their own. 

Pietro Mocenigo was appointed to supersede Canal ; he 
was charged to arrest his predecessor, and to send him to 
Venice- When Canal heard the order of the Ten from the 
lips of Mocenigo, he simply answered, "I am here to obey. 
Dispose of me as it seems good to you." The commander 
on his arrival in Venice was tried and found guilty on all 
the charges, — of deserting Negropont when first assaulted ; 
of failing to attack the bridge ou the 11th July; of having 
let the enemy's fleet escape after the sack of the city, 
and others of less weight ; and yet hiB sentence was simply 



that of confinement in Portogniaro, a city on the mainland 
not far from Venice. 

The war had already cost the Eepublic 1,200,000 ^^^°' 
ducats, and the loss of Negropont filled the Venetians with 
a desire for peaQC. All the government officials whose 
salaries were in excess of twenty -five ducats, had 
been deprived either of two-thirds or of a half of 
their pay for two years. The Doge himself was subjected 
to this forced contribution for the replenishment of the 
State coffers. No war could be carried on for long by a 
State reduced to such expedients as these, and Venice soon 
began to open negotiations for an accord through the Sultan's 
stepmother. But no result was reached, for the Venetians 
desired to recover Negropont, on payment of a large sum of 
money, while the Sultan absolutely refused to give the 
island back to the Eepublic. War was renewed in a 
desultory manner. Venice, failing to obtain any support 
from Europe, did all she could, which was very little, to 
encourage the Persians in their attack on the Turks 
in Asia. But the defeat of Usunhasan at Tergian, 
in 1473, completely destroyed all hopes in that quarter, 
and the next year witnessed the Turkish attack on 

T At A. 

Scutari, in Albania, and its memorable defence by 
Antonio Loredan. The city, which is placed on a hill above 
the lake of the same name, was closely invested and reduced 
to the greatest straits for want of water. Loredan quelled a 
popular rising, and inspired new courage, by baring his breast 
and crying, " If you are hungry, here is my flesh ; if you 
are thirsty, I give you my blood." So obstinate was the 
resistance that Suleiman Pasha was forced to raise the siege 
and to retire. 

When Pietro Mocenigo, the admiral who had super- 
seded Canal, came to the throne, his wide experience in 
the affairs of the Levant gave Venice hopes of making 
some headway against her enemies. His first care was 
to attempt a replenishment of the treasury ; four years' 
command in the Levant had taught him that without 
a full exchequer nothing could be done against the Turk. 
The Eepublic was able to raise 50,000 ducats in subsidies 


from her maiulaud proviuces, and this relatively small 
contribution was augmented by the lucky accident — 
if accident it were — of Eartolonieo Colleoni's death. 
The great coml-oitiere left to the Eepublic, as his heir, upwards 
of 500,000 ducats in specie, land, jewels, Eind buildings; of 
this sum the Government at once appropriated 100,000 
ducats to the prosecution of the Tiirkish war. Kothing 
could more forcibly display the financial impoverishment 
of the Venetian treasury than this instant application of n 
fortuitous legacy to meet the pressing needs of the State, if 
it be not the fact that, in spite of this refreshment of her 
exchequer, the Republic was only too glad to entertain 
negotiations for peace whicli were once more introduced by 
the Sultan's stepmother. The proposals arrived while the 
Doge was entertaining Don Federico d'Aragona at a magni- 
ficent public reception in the ducal palace, so dramatically 
contrasted was the real poverty of the State with the 
outward pomp and show which it striiggled to maintain. 
The offer was discussed for two days in the Council of Ten. 
There was a strong party which, in ignorance of the true state 
of affairs, still favoured war at any cost ; but the Doge and 
those best informed replied that thirteen years of continuous 
campaigning had impoverished private and public purses 
alike; that the sailors for the reinforcements had, before 
sailing, appeared at the doors of the palace clamouring 
for pay ; that there were not funds sufticient to maintain 
forty galleys, far less such an armada as was needed to 
make head against the Turk ; in short, that the Eepublic 
must perforce endeavour to come to terms. The safe- 
conduct for an ambassador was accepted, and Girolamo 
Zorzi departed for Constantinople. But the Turkish 
demands were excessive, as usual ; they were in the position 
of command, and did not care to make peace upon terms 
advantageous to Venice. Negotiations and partial 
hostilities dragged along for two years more. 
Scutari was again besieged by the Sultan in person, 
I ■who, in his furious determination to enter the town, blew 
I besieged and besiegers ahke to bits before his great siege 
[^eatmoiL But Scutari repelled Mohammed as it had 


repelled Suleiman Pasha. The assault was converted into 
a blockada 

Both parties were weary of the conflict, and 
Venice was thoroughly exhausted. It was only a question 
of days how long Scutari could now hold out ; the 
Republic could oSer no help. In these circum- 
stances peace negotiations were resumed, and carried through. 
The Republic gave up Scutari, Stalimene, Brazzo, and all 
places which the Turks had occupied in the Morea 
The Venetians secured the right to keep their Bailo 
at Constantinople, and preserved their trading privil^es, for 
which they were to pay 10,000 ducats a year. 

Thus, after sixteen years of continuous warfare, Venice 
secured a ruinous peace which deprived her of a large 
portion of her Levantine Empire, and rendered her tributary 
to the new lords of Constantinople. She had undertaken the 
war at the request of Europe and encouraged by promises 
of support ; she had been deserted at the very outset ; 
she struggled on with great bravery, spending men and 
money till she could endure no further drain; she 
made the best terms she could, and instantly all Europe 
attacked her for her perfidy to the Christian faith. The 
princes of Italy professed to believe that Venice had 
retired from the war in order to devote her attention to the 
increase of her mainland kingdom ; a policy that filled them 
wth the liveliest apprehensions for their own safety, which 
depended on the maintenance of the balance of power in 
the peninsula. And, unfortunately, Venice was about to 
take a step which gave colour to the accusation. Had 
she been supported she would never have closed the 
Turkish war with such a balance against her; she was 
simply too weak to go on. The Doge was in the right 
when he declared that both public and private purses 
were exhausted, and in Venice, which relied so largely on 
patriotic contributions, and whose policy forbade her to tax 
her subjects heavily, the latter deficiency was the more 
serious of the two. 

But however jealous of Venice the Italian princes might 
be, they had no desire to see her destroyed. The successes 



of the Turks and the growing weakness of the Republic began 
to cause serious alarm. The Pope summoned repre- 
sentatives of all Italian States to meet him at Rome 
in 1476, with a view to concerting measures against the 
Ottoman power ; but nothing came of this step. Suddenly, 
in 1480, not only Italy, but all Europe, was startled 
by the news that the Turks had seized Otranto. 
This was an inevitable outcome of the peace between Venice 
and the Sultan, which was due to the failure of Europe in 
supporting the Republic. Mohanimed was insatiable of con- 
quest, and foiind nothing now between himself and Italy; 
it looked ag though he were going to keep his famous daily 
rendezvotis with his janizaries at " the red apple " — Rome. 
Venice has been accused of suggesting this attack on Italy 
to the conquering Sultan, and the accusation, which was 
generally believed, roused the utmost indignation against 
the Republic. It is difficult to see what advantage could be 
supposed to accrue to Venice from the presence of the Turk 
iu Italy. Moreover, the Sultan required no such promptings 
to an obvious course; the road to the " red apple " was open 
before hia very eyes, and he took it Venice was at peace 
now with the Turk, and would not and could not embark 
upon a fresh war for the sake of Italy, which had left her 
to struggle alone for sixteen years. When invited by the 
Pope to join the Italian league she pleaded the treaty of 
1479, and confirmed Italian suspicion of her secret under- 
etanding with the Ottoman power. 

But worse was still to come- Venice by her action, im- 
mediately after 1479, was about to convince all her Italian 
neighbours that her lust for land dominion was " insatiable," 
She already possessed Ravenna, under protest from Rome 
which claimed the overlordship ; she now embarked on a war 
with the Marquis of Ferrara, whose dominions lay between 
Ravenna and the Venetian southern frontier on the Po. The 
excuse was the erection of salt-pans at the mouth of that 
stream, in contravention of Venetian monopoly, and the 
exaction of dues for navigation on the river. In the strained 
relations brought about by these disputed points, a small 
episode set Venice and Ferrara in a flame. The Venetian 



consul {visdomino) arrested a priest for debt The papal Vicar 
excommunicated the consul, who retired to Venice 
when he saw that the Marquis supported the Vicar. 
The Bishop of Ferrara condemned the act of the Vicar and, 
with the approval of the Pope, apologised to Venice. But 
the Marquis refused to reinstate the Venetian consuL 
Venice declared war, which was immensely popular 
as the State was thirsting to be reassured of its own powers 
again after the long years of miserable discomfiture at the 
hands of the Turks. Taking advantage of this burst of 
patriotic enthusiasm, the Government was able to raise the 
necessary money : two-fifths of all incomes were called for, 
half as a loan bearing interest, half as a free gift; 
the Colleoni Bequest supplied 240,000 ducats; and new 
government bonds bearing five per cent were issued to the 
amount of 500,000 ducats. The reply to the government 
call shows that the private resources of Venice were still 
considerable, and could be counted on for a popular war. 
Of the funds thus raised 400,000 ducats were spent in the 
month of April, on the preparation of a flotilla and an 

At the opening of the campaign the Pope supported 
the Eepublic, and Venetian arms under San Severino were 
victorious. But in 1483 Sixtus IV. requested Venice to 
abandon its war with Ferrara. He was moved to this step 
by the jealousy of the Duke of Milan, who was little pleased 
at the successes of his neighbour Venice. The Republic, in 
spite of the Papal request, resolved to continue her opera- 
tions. Funds, however, were exhausted, and the Government 
consented to the sale of certain public offices to Venetian 
nobles for sums as large as 80,000 ducats — an ominous 
episode. The Pope, in view of the Venetian attitude, placed 
the Eepublic under an interdict. Diedo, the ambassador at 
Rome, refused to forward the bull ; and it was affixed to the 
door of S. Peter's. The Patriarch of Venice received orders to 
communicate the bull to the Government He feigned illness, 
and privately informed the Council of Ten ; the Council at 
once imposed silence upon him, and commanded that all sacred 
offices should be administered as usual. At the same time 


I ftey covered this rebellious action gainst the Church by the 
technical plea of appeal to a future CounciL We 
shall find that the Republic repeats the same tactics 
during her struggle with Paul V., at the time when Paolo 
Sarpi was her councillor. The appeal to a future Council 
was actually made out and affixed to the door of S. Celso 
in Rome. 

The Ferrarese war, however, did not maintain the brilliant 
promise of its opening. Ferdinand, King of Naples, had from 
the beginning of the campaign declared himself as an ally of 
Ferrara, aud liis galleys were fighting with the Venetian fleet 
off the coast of Apulia. The Venetians succeeded in capturing 
Gallipoli and other seaports. But the war was exhausting 
a threadbare treasury ; the Pope, the King of Naples, the 
Duke of Milan, and the Marquis of Ferrara formed a com- 
bination too powerful for Venice to combat single-handed, 
. A contemporary, Malipiero, a brave officer, thus describes 
the condition of the Republic : " All dues have been raised 
one-third ; the plate of private individuals forcibly bought 
below real value ; the gold chains of the womeu carried to 
the treasury. The income from Venice and the mainland ia 
falling ; we have lost many ships and men, and to fill their 
I place we have been obliged to enrol the naked and the 
maimed ; the arsenal, that once made the whole world tremble, 
is empty now ; we have famine and plague at our door ; we 
have spent 1,200,000 ducats. We shall have to beg for 
peace, and restore what we have captured." And in these 
dire straits Venice took a step which others took before and 
after her, but wluch was none the less indicative of a 
broken power and a ruiuous policy ; she attempted to save 
r herself by a short-sighted diplomacy. The French claims on 
I Italian States were brought into play; she invited Charles 
'VIII. to occupy the kingdom of Naples; and the Duke of 
Orleans to make good his pretensions to Milan, by 
attacking her nearest neighbour and most bitter foe, 
( Lodovico Sforza. The policy of Venice and the inextricable 
I confusion of the peninsula led up to the peace of Bagnolo 
' (7th August 1484), by which Venice retained Eovigo and 
Polesine, but restored, as Malipiero had foreseen, 


tiallipoli and the Neapolitan cities in Apulia — a perfectly 
inadequate return for such a vast expense. 

In the middle of this long but steady decline of 
Venetian power the Republic enjoyed one striking success, 
though the achievement was marred by harsh, if not 
treacherous, conduct, and the outcome was a renewal of the 
Turkish war. The island of Cyprus came under immediate 
Venetian influence in the year 1473, and was finally 
annexed in 1488. 

When Gian Lusignan II. died in 1432 he left one 
daughter Carlotta, married to Luigi of Savoy, and one 
natural son Giacomo. Giacomo, handsome and popular, 
wafl a distinct danger to Carlotta and her husband. They 
drove bim out of the island. With the help of the Soldan 
of Egypt, and secretly supported by Venice in opposition to 
the Genoese, who espoused the cause of Carlotta, Giacomo 
seized the kingdom, and in his turn expelled his sister and 
her husband. The new king relied on the Venetians, and he 
sought in marriage the hand of Caterina Comaro, daughter 
of Marco Comaro, and oiece of Andrea who was resideQt in 
Cj^iruB. The family and the Republic accepted the pro- 
posals with pleasure. The Government solemnly adopted 
Caterina as daughter of Venice; in 1472 she was married 
by proxy to Giacomo Lusignan, and left Venice for Cyprus. 
But Caterina enjoyed her new life of splendour for a verj^ 
short time. The following year the king died, leaving his 
wife with child. Wlien the news of Giacomo's death 
reached Venice, the Hepublic despatched Pietro Mocenigo to 
act as guardian, they said, to the daughter of Venice and 
her coming infant ; in reality to take care that Carlotta 
and her husband should not recover their lost tlirone. As 
a fact Caterina's days of peace were over. Conspiracies 
were rife about her. On 14th November 1473, the Count 
of Tripoli, the Count of Zaffo, and Rizzo da Marin burst 
into the young Queen's chamber, slew her doctor and 
her servant, who clung to the folds of her dress for 
safety ; and, after searching the palace through, captured 
and cut to pieces Andrea Comaro, the Queen's uncle, 
and Marco Bembo^ her cousin. The arrival of Pietro 




Mocenigo secured the Queen from the hands of the rehels. 
But this first revolution brought as its conse- 
quence the presence of two Venetian nobles who, 
under the title of councillors, really assumed the govern- 
ment of the island. In 1474 Caterina's posthumous 
child died, and the Eepublic redoubled its vigilance. 
I Caterina's father arrived in Cyprus, and Antonio Loredan, 
I the captain-general of the fleet, was ordered to seize and 
send to Venice the mother of the late king, her daughter, 
and all his bastards. The Eepubhc was determined to 
sweep away every possible aspirant to the crown, 
; only her own widowed daughter, Caterina, 
bo whom she claimed to be heir. Fresh movements on 
the part of Alfonso of Naples, who was endeavour- 
ing to secure the investiture of the island from the 
Soldan, and at the same time desired to marry Caterina, 
ended in a conspiracy conducted by Rizzo da Marin, one of 
the murderers of the Queen's uncle, Rizzo was seized, 
isent to Venice and strangled. Finally, in 1488, the 
Venetians resolved to annex the island. Ciiorgio Coraaro, the 
'Queen's brother, was instructed to persuade her to renounce 
her kingdom in favour of her adoptive parent. Caterina 
^resisted for long ; she clung to her shadowy State ; she 
loved her island kingdom. But she was made to nndei^ 
stand that if she did not yield with a good grace, she would 
be forced into submission. The standard of the house of 
Lusiguan, the cross of Jerusalem with the crosslets in the 
^ cantons, was hauled down, and the crimson standard 

H ' with the golden lion of S. Mai'k took its place for 

Bstearly a century to come. 

H The Queen of Cyprus was received with every sign of 

Bzespect. The Doge wont to meet her at the Lido. She 

Bwas conducted to the Fiazzetta in the Bucintoro, and in 

S. Mark's Church she solemnly coufirmed her renunciation 

of Cyprus. She retained her title of Queen, and received 

the pleasant hill city of Asolo, and all its richly wooded 

I and district in the plain, as a home, and also as a 

kingdom. She signed herself Queen of Cyprus, 

Benisalem, and Armenia, Lady of Asolo. There she lived. 


dispensing justice, founding a pawnshop for the assistance 
of the poor; distributing corn, gratis, in years of 
distress; listening to the courtly conversation of 
Cardinal Bembo ; amusing herself in the gardens of her 
summer-house on the plain. The troubles of the League of 
Cambray drove her into Venice, and there she died in 
1510. Her body was carried across the Grand Canal on 
a bridge of boats from her palace at S. Cassiano to the 
church of SS. Apostoli, where she was buried in the habit 
of S. Francis. Her coffin was removed in 1660, and she 
lies now in S. Salvadore, in a tomb which was raised in the 
right transept of the church. 

But in the long ma dolorosa of Venetian decline, in the 
deepening tragedy of the Republic, an event had taken place 
quite beyond the region of Venetian control — an event 
which, not immediately, but steadily and surely, completed 
the ruin of Venetian grandeur. In 1486 Diaz 
rounded the Cape of Good Hope. A new com- 
mercial route was opened to the world. Instead of passing 
up the Red Sea and across the Isthmus of Suez, or up the 
Persian Gulf and through Asia Minor, breaking bulk at 
Ormuz or at Suez, and being shipped again for European 
destinations at Alexandria or Aleppo, all the wealth of the 
Indies could now be carried in unbroken cargoes, round 
the Cape of Good Hope, to be discharged in the harbours of 
Portugal, of Holland, of the Hanseatic towns, of England. 
The Mediterranean instantly ceased to be the sole highway of 
communication between the East and West ; the great com- 
mercial thoroughfare was now thrown outside the Straits of 
Gibraltar, and Venice, in whose hands Mediterranean traffic 
had become almost a monopoly, suffered a blow such as all 
lier struggles with Genoa, and all the victories of the Turks, 
had hitherto failed to inflict. Nor was the shrewdness of 
her abler merchants slow to appreciate the importance of 
this event. Priuli notes in his Diaries that " on receipt of 
the news (of Vasco di Gama's voyage in 1498) the whole 
city was distressed and astounded, and the wisest heads 
take it to be the worst piece of information that we could 
ever have had. For it is well known that Venice reached 



her height of reputation and riches through her commerce 
which broiiglit foreigners to the city in great 
numbers ; and now by this new route the spice 
cargoes will be taken straight to Lisbon, where the Hunga- 
rians, Germans, Flemish, and French will flock to buy 
them ; they will find the goods cheaper in Lisbon tlian 
they can be in Venice, for before the freights can reach 
Venice by the old route, they have to pay exorbitant 
dues for transit through Syria and the lands of the Soldan 
of Egypt" And in fact the Venetian market began to 
feel the effect of the new Cape route, which was frequently 
adopted by the Portuguese. The Venetians did not them- 
selves attempt to take advantage of the discovery, for two 
reasons ; first, because they were not masters of the Straits 
of Gibraltar, aud Spain would liave levied dues on the 
passage of their ships ; and secondly, the merchants of 
the north found Portugal more ready to their shipping 
than Venice, and by going to Portugal they avoided the 
difficult and dangerous transit of the Alps, with its lavine- 
swept Toada and robber-haunted valleys. 

The discovery of the Cape route was an irremediable blow 
to Venetian commerce ; she was quite unable to help her- 
self ; butshe did not abandon all hope at once. In 1501 the 
Senate sent Pietro Paaqualigo to Lisbon, to examine the state 
of affairs, and he repoits thus ; " I had an audience of the 
King, and congratulated him on the sate arrival of his ships. 
That evening there was a fete in the palace, and the day 
following, processions all through the town. I had another 
audience of his Majesty, and he bade me write to your 
Serenity that j'ou should send your galleys here to lade with 
spices, and that he would make them very welcome." The 
Government of Venice was in great doubt whether to accept 
the Portuguese invitation or not ; but the dread of rendering 
the Soldan of Egypt hostile to the Republic by abruptly 
breaking commercial relations which were profitable to him, 
and thereby adding another enemy in the Levant to the 
Turk, who was already too powerful for them, as well as the 
danger of exposing all the Venetian warehouses in Cairo and 
Alexandria \a a sack, deterred the Government from any 



decisive step. They attempted to open fresh negotiation^ 
witli Portugal in 1505, but found their mOTes were 
all eonutermiued by Florentine mercliants, who 
already had the ear of the Xing, and could plead ibe 
advantages of dealing with free-traders hke tliemselves, 
rather than with such rigid protectionists as the Venetians, 
They were obliged to sit still and to watch their oncf- 
tiourishing India trade die slowly away year by year, 
while the continual drain of Turkish and of mainland 
wars dragged the Eepublic surely downward to the gulf of 
bankruptcy and ruin. 

We are now approaching the last act in the marring of 
Venice — the series of events which led up to the over- 
whelming league whereby the Kepublic was robbed of all 
her land possessions, reduced to the utmost straits, and only 
escaped political extinction owing to the mutual jealousy of 
her foes. The period is one of extreme confusion. The 
vortex which had been produced by the action of the 
amdottieri, who disturbed the equiUbrium of States in arti- 
ficial balance, appeared now in the cabinet. The same 
passion, the passion for aggrandisement, for territorial 
extension, still governs popes, kings, princes alike. Rome, 
Naples, Milan, are all endeavouring to enlarge their Ixirders. 
or to prevent their neighbours from doing so. But no 
one of these States was really powerful ; they therefore 
constantly endeavoured to attain their object by means of 
political combinations. League after league is made and 
broken again by the desertion of oue of its members. If 
Venice and the Pope combine against Ferrara, Naples and 
Sforza support the Marquis, and soon succeed in checking 
Venice by persuading the Pope that Venetian success will 
upset the balance of power in the peninsula ; that fear is 
enough to make the Pope witlidraw from his alliance, and 
to place his former allies imder an interdict. If the I 
attacks Florence, Venice and Milan stand by her ; if i 
ence endeavours to absorb Pisa, she is opposed by 1 
and by Sforza. The kaleidoscope of Italian politics e 
with dazzling and meaningless rapidity. 

But there is one ominoua new element in the raids 




these political fluctuations to which Italiau statesmen had 
been accustomed now for upwards of 200 years; 
that is, the appeal to foreign sovereigns. We have 
already seen how the death of the last Viaconti opened 
the door to a claim upon the Duchy of Milan on the 
part of the house of Orleans. The Crown of France 
also claimed Genoa in right of voluntary dedition, and 
the kingdom of Naples in the name of Anjou. The 
princes of Italy, in their insane struggles with one another, 
had learned the art of combination ; the presence of the 
French claim on Milan suggested to Venice, when bard 
pressed by the Pope and Sforza at the close of the Ferrareae 
war in 1484, that a splendid diversion might be created by 
offering to help Orleans, if he would attempt to make good 
his claim against Sforza's duchy ; again, later on, Lodovico 
Sforza invited Charles VIII. to assume the Neapolitan king- 
dom. It was a fatal policy, but the natural outcome of weak- 
ness. The Italian princes began to offer their services freely 
to France if she would assist them against their Italian enemy 
of the moment. The King of Spain, who already had his foot 
in Italy through the Aragoneae dynasty of Naples, was watch- 
ing with jealousy the aggrandisement of the French, and 
therefore offered a still further subject for combination in the 
convolutions of Italian politics. The Emperor, who claimed 
,to be lord paramount to both France and Spain, and to whom 
:&ey must revert for such shadowy titles as he was able to 
ibestow, desired to preserve what he called hia rights, and 
;bo offered a third factor to be introduced into the medley, 
Ho Italian prince alone was strong enough to resist any 
one of these greater sovereigns, and their blind jealousy 
of each other prevented any effectual combinations among 
themselves. Charles VIII. was allowed to march to Naples 
and back again, as Borgia said, " with wooden spurs and 
of chalk," and when the Italians might have caught 
crushed htm at Fornovo, they contented themselves 
ith hia baggage-train, and the King escaped. The out- 
of the tornado which Milan and Venice brought down 
themselves by their appeals to France, was that Milan 
.nally disappears as a political unit ; and Venice only 


escapes a similar fate partly owing to the mutual jealousy of 
her opponents, partly thanks to the strength of her 
geographical position, partly through her own adroit- 
ness, partly by the affection she inspired in her subject lands. 
Venice received the first warnings of the unpopularity 
which her apparent successes in the Lombard plain had 
created in the minds of Italy, and of Europe, from Galeazzo 
Sforza, the son of Francesco, who had succeeded to the 
dukedom of Milan in 1466. Sforza believed that Colleoni, 
that troublesome member of the condoUieri group, was 
meditating an attack on Milan, supported by Venice. He 
sent for Gonnella, the Venetian representative at his court, 
and spoke to him very frankly. " Certes, you Venetians 
are wrong to disturb the peace of Italy, and not to rest 
content with the fine State which is now yours. If you 
only knew how every one hates you, your hair would stand 
on end and you would let other people alone. Do you 
believe that these Italian princes are really friends ? Oh 
no ; it is only their dread of you that binds them together. 
Every one of them will do his best to clip your wings. Do 
you think you have done wisely to arm all Italy like this ? 
You would be amazed if you knew the offers that are made 
to me to induce me to declare war on you. No, no ; let 
every one live in peace. When my father died it seemed 
to me that he had left me a fine estate, and so I went 
a-hunting and amused myself, and thought of nothing else ; 
but now, with this Bartolomeo of yours, you have forced 
me to arms, and into an alliance with my mortal enemy, 
King Ferdinand of Naples. You imagine that you are 
acting wisely ; you will see. You are acquiring a very bad 
name. Every one says you want to eat up all Italy. You 
have spent much, and your treasury is empty. I know the 
way you raise your loans, with what difficulty. I know 
that you have borrowed money from your banks and your 
private citizens, and have not repaid it yet. A single despot 
has a great advantage over a commonwealth, for he can keep 
his eye on everything, and has only to consult himself, while 
you have to trust to others. A monarch is worth more, 
and does more, with 50,000 ducats than a commonwealth 



■with 100,000. You are aloue, and all the world is 
against you, not merely in Italy hut also heyond 
the Alps. Eest assured your enemies are not 
asleep. Take good counsel, for, by God, you need it. I 
laiow what I am saying." 

After this Venice could not plead that she hod not been 
warned. But perhaps she may have wondered what it all 
meant, unless she surmised the real cause — ^jealousy of her 
land possessions, dread of her prospective supremacy in Italy, 
and the intention to despoil her. And just ten years later 
Sforza did propose to the King of France a partition of the 
Venetian dominions in Lomhardy, at a moment when the 
Turks were burning the homesteads of Friuli, and their fires 
could be seen from the campanile of S. Mark. 

But though the idea of calling in the French was rife 
among Italian princes, it did not take definite and outward 
shape till the policy of Lodovico Sforza, Lodovico il Moro, 
brought Charles VIII. into the peninsula, in order to main- 
tain himself in the possession of the Milanese duchy which 
he had usurped from his nephew, Gian Galeazzo, Gian 
Galeazzo was married to a daughter of Alfonso, son and 
heir of the King of Naples ; Lodovico expected that Alfonso 
would use the power of Naples to enforce his daughter's 
xigbts, and he therefore begged Charles to make good his 
;claim to Naples by expelling Fetdinand, Alfonso's father. 
Hie news of Charles's advent threw all Italy into a com- 
motion. Each State asked itself which side it intended to 
take in the coming invasion. Naples was unable to combine 
league against France ; Milan was pledged to the French. 
enice endeavoured to steer a middle course without com- 
dtting herself to one party or the other. Her replies to 
Beatrice Sforza, who camo to sound her on Lodo vice's 
behalf, and again to Charles's ambassador, Du Perou, were 
always ambiguous. Slie declared she was friends with 
every one, wished for peace, and could help no one, as she 
■as exhausted by her long Turkish wars. Cltarles appar- 
itly believed that the Republic was only waiting to hear 
price for her assistance. He sent another embassy to 
iS^r her various coast cities in the Neapolitan territory if 


she would undertake to provision his army. The Republic 
again replied that all her ships were occupied in 
keeping a watch on the Turks. 

At last, on 9th September .1494, Charles and his army- 
entered Asti. Philip de Commines, sent as ambas- 
sador to make still further offers to Venice, met 
with the same courteous reception and the same vague 

Charles marched south on his way to Naples. His 
success was phenomenal He encountered no opposition 
worth mentioning, and in February 1495 he was master of 
the whole of the Neapolitan kingdom. 

The Italians saw now what they had done, and 
endeavoured to undo it. Lodovico had thought he could 
use Charles as a pawn to be moved about the chess-board 
of Italy. After the march on Naples he began to tremble 
for the safety of his own duchy, for French claims to Milan 
no less than to Naples were ever present. The Emperor 
and the King of Spain were jealous of Charles's success. 
Lodovico therefore was soon able to construct a league against 
Charles. The members were the Emperor, Spain, Milan; 
only Venice hung back, delayed, hesitated, so that Lodovico 
one day burst out, " Each one of those magnificent senators 
is doubtless wiser than I, but taken all together there is no 
comparison." At last the Eepublic sent in her adhesion. 
Commines, who was still in Venice, asked what the intentions 
of the Republic might be in case his master retired from 
Naples, and Venice declared that no one thought of closing 
the road against the King ; every one would be only too 
glad to assist him on his way home. 

Meantime the members of the confederation were pre- 
paring to contest Charles's return. But, of the league, the 
two greatest names were of least use. The Emperor Maxi- 
milian had no money — indeed he wished to borrow from 
Venice, a member of the league, the money he promised to 
contribute to the league ; while the King of Spain was 
far away, and his contributions could hardly arrive in time. 
The burden of the campaign fell on Venice and Sforza, 
Charles, leaving half his army in Naples, set out for France. 



He marched undisturbed through Eome aud Tuscany, aud 
on 5th July he debouched upon the Lombard 
plain, by the valley of the Taro, not far from 
Farms. On the 6th, in the morning, Comminea came to 
tte Venetian camp, commanded by Gonzaga, and begged 
the Proveditori to grant terms for the free passage of' 
the King. Tliis was refused, Commines returned to the 
French camp, which was then put iii motion. The baggage, 
sent on in front, proved too great a temptation to the 
mercenary troops under Gonzaga ; they ?ell uiron the booty, 
while the French chivalry succeeded in cutting a way for tlie 
£iDg, mounted on his black charger " Savoy," through the 
xttnks of the enemy. There was a great slaughter, and the 
Venetians called Fornovo a victory ; in commemoration 
thereof Mantegna painted that splendid picture of the 
Madoima now in the Louvre ; but the escape of the King 
robbed it of all its importance, and Charles found shelter in 
Aati, whence he was able to assist Novara, besieged now by 
his late ally, Lodovico, and the Venetians. 

Charlea withdrew to Fi-ance j both Venice and Lodo- 
vico, in alarm at the possible results of their hostility, 
appealed to the Emperor to " save Italy," as they called it. 
The menace of a second French descent uixm Lombardy 
was always before their eyes, and they believed that it 
would be vengeful. The Emperor came into Italy, but hia 
isence was not more welcome than that of Charles, 
[e was impoverished, and desired money ; and he began to 
disagreeable questions as to the title upon which his 
[Venetian allies held their landed possessions, "While 
latters were in this complicated condition, news' reached 
enice by means of a courier, who had killed thirteeo horses 
through over-riding, and taken seven days to cover 
the ground between Amboise on the Loire and 
!estre on the Lagoon, that Charles VHI, was dead. 

The accession of Louis of Orleans to the throne of 

mce as Louis XII. altered the whole aspect of Italian 

for he united in his own person the Orleans claim 

Milan, and the claim of the French crown to Genoa and 

'aples. Louis was entirely governed by his minister. 



George d'Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen, whose ambitiou 
was the tiara, and whose interests lay accordingly 
in Italy. Moreover, Cesare Borgia, the Pope's son, 
was at the French Court, and promised to secure d'Amboise's 
elevation to the papal throne if he would persuade his master to 
assist the Borgias in recovering the territories claimed by the 
Church. Lodovico Sforza augured ill for his own safety from 
the new King of France. He endeavoured to fortify himself 
by a closer alliance with Venice. But he had been forestalled. 
This time Venice did not hesitate to embrace the French 
cause, having learned, as she believed, by the experience of 
Charles's expedition that it was the winning side. The 
price of her desertion of Sforza, her treason to Italy, her 
alliance with the invader, was to be all the Milanese terri- 
tory round Cremona, between the Adda, the Oglio, and the 
Po. Her desire to cross the Adda to secure some portion 
of the Milanese seemed on the point of being realised. 
But now Lodovico Sforza, stabbed as he was by Venetian 
treachery, made his counter-thrust. He roused the Turks to 
attack Venice once mora He brought about the second 
Turkish war, brief but disastrous to the Republic, and 
thereby he concentrated for one moment against Venice 
tliose two destructive agencies which she herself had been 
largely responsible for creating — the Turks by her policy in 
1204, when she sacked Constantinople; the ultramontane 
sovereigns by her policy of mainland extension, and her 
submission to the tortuous methods of Italian diplomacy. 
Italian mainland politics combined with the current 
of affairs in the Levant to the destruction of 

The report of a Venetian ambassador despatched to 
Constantinople, left no doubt that war was inevitable. 
Antonio Grimani was elected Captain-General, and besides 
giving his services he offered a loan of 16,000 ducats to 
the State ; other private contributions flowed into the 
exchequer, and a fleet was manned. But when Grimani 
asked for instructions as to his conduct in case he met the 
enemy, with whom war was not yet declared, the Govern- 
ment made no answer — an ominous sign of weakness which 



: desired to shelter itself behind the commander and to plead 
his unauthorised actions in case of his failure. 
With such support from the Centi-al Government it 
was hardly possible that victory should attend tlie Venetian 
Jag, Nor did it Griniani met the Turkish fleet at Sapienza, 
I place already disastrous iu Venetian naval history. With- 
out positive instructious from home Grimani wished to secure 
himself by inviting the Prmeditori of the fleet to sign the 
order to attack. They did so. The fleets engaged first on the 
12th August, with unfavourable results for the Venetians; 
then E^ain on the 20th, but Grimani's vacillation robbed his 
crews of their dan; and finally on the 25th, when the 
Venetian fleet lost its order of battle, fell into confusion, and 
was utterly routed. MaUpiero e.\claimed, " We liad the 
Turks in our hands, as sure as God is God, but for lack of 
courage, lack of discipline, lack of skill on our Captain's 
part." When the news reached Venice the popular indig- 
nation was intense; the peopla cried in the streets, 
"Autonio Grimani, ruina de C'riatiani," and orders were 
seat to arrest the Captain and to couvey hint In irons to the 
capital. His sons endeavoured to defend him ; and one of 
.them, Vincenzo, certainly saved his father from tJie worst 
iConsetjuences of his defeat, by compelling him to obey the 
■orders of the Ten, that Grimani shoidd arrive at Venice in 
irons, though he was obliged with his own hands to place the 
manacles on his father's legs. Grimani was condemned to 
confinement in the island of Cherso in Dalmatia, whence 
we shall see him escape, to follow a career which eventually 
-led him to the ducal throne. 

Venice was left powerless before the Turk by the defeat 
of Sapienza. Nothing remained but to negotiate for a peace. 
Her agent was treated with contempt by the Pashas, They 
idenied that Sforza had been the prime instigator of the w^r 
with such vehemence as to leave no doubt that he was the 
'jeal cause ; other reasons assigned being the acquisition of 
Cyprus, winch the Turk considered a hostile act committed 
in time of peace. When taking lea^'e of the Divan the 
43iand Vizier said, " You can tell the Doge that he has done 
the sea. It is our turn now "— 


true as it was brutal iu its frankness, Kegotiations V 
broken off, and matters remained in an uodeter- 
mined state till 1503, when the second Turkish 
war was concluded by a treaty of peace. 

Meantime in Lombardy the policy of Louia and d'Am- 
boise was being carried into efl'ect. The French, under Gian 
Giacopo Trivulzio, entered Italy, laid siege to Milan, and, 
aaaiated by a rising of the people, possessed the city in 
1499. Lodovico fled to Maximilian at Imisbruck. The 
Venetians entered Cremona on 1 0th September, and their 
ally, Louis, Milan on Gth October; and time at last the 
Republic had crossed the Adda, and fulfilled a desire wliich 
she had nursed from the days when Carmagnola's victorj" 
of Macalo first gave her the hope of one day possessing 
the Milanese. 

But it was madness of the Eepublic to believe that 
events would stand still at the point which suited her 
convenience. She was in the middle of complications which 
involved many other agents besides herself and Franca 
Louis was not the ally of Venice only ; he was pledged to 
assist Gesare Boi^a iu recovering the States of the Church, 
and some of these Venice now owned. Louis's success in 
Milan, which was confirmed in 1500 by the capture of 
Lodovico Sforza after a fruitless attempt to recover his 
duchy, led the King to consider an attack on Naples. He 
sounded Venice on the question ; the Republic could not but 
be compliant to heronlyally. Louis's attitude, however.roused 
the jealousy of Spain, who also advanced claims on Naples, 
and the Venetian attitude angered the Emperor, who h^an 
to inquire by what title Venice held her Lombard possessions. 
The Republic had every reason to suspect that the 
Emperor and the Cardinal d'Araboiae, on the part of 
prance, were arranging a partition of her mainland State in 
their frequent and secret conclaves at Botzen. The storm 
was fast gathering round her. She had no real ally. The two 
foreign monarchs were ouly pursuing a policy of aggrandise- 
ment Louis had absorbed Milan ; there was merely a douht 
whetlier he or the Emperor would absorb the Venetian 
portion of Lombardy. In Italy Venice had no friends; no 


Italian prince ever was true friend to his neighbour. Lodo- 
vico Si'orza had disappeared ; Cesare Borgia was 
^ ' busy endeavouring to build himself a kingdom, 
and some of the territory he designed to annex was held 
by the Republic. It was only a question of the moment 
which Louis and Maximilian would choose for a united 
attack on Venice, in which, of course, the Church would 

Matters were brought to a crisis by the death of 
Alexander VI. in 1503. Cesare Borgia lost the 
support of the Papacy, and his schemes for forming 
an Italian kingdom vanished before the warlike attitude of 
Julius II., who declared his intention of recovering and 
keeping for the Church what to the Church belonged. Face 
to face with this critical situation, the policy of Venice 
seems to have been actuated by folly or despair ; qtmm devs 
vuli perdere,privs demeiUat, might "truly be said of her. She 
had roused suspicion by her attack on Ferrara. jealousy by 
lier acquisition of Cremona, and now in the collapse of 
Borgia's dominions she put out her hand to take Faenza, 
Cesena, and Bimini. Jidius at once declared that these 
were the property of the Church, and he announced that he 
would recover them by foreign, or by any other arms. He 
appealed to Louis and to Maximilian, both of them ready, as 
we have seen, to despoil the Eepnblic, and the result 
was an understanding at Blois, which was ratified 
and consolidated at Cambray in 1508. All Europe, France, 
the Emperor, the King of Spain, the Pope, the King of 
Hungary, the Dukes of Savoy and Ferrara, was combined 
against what the preamble to the treaty styled 
^ ' VinsaziakUe cupidigia dei Veneziani e la l,oro scte di 

This, then, is what Venice had achieved by her policy of 
land empire, initiated in the first war of Ferrara and rarried 
out with apparent success under Francesco Foscari. The two 
errors of her political life, her great crime and her great 
misfortune — the sack of Constantinople in 1204, and the 
extension on the mainland in 1404^were both bearing 
their fruit now, the one in the destruction of the 


Venetian Levantine empire at the hands of the Turk, the 
other by the destruction of her Italian land empire 
at the hands of a jealous Italy and a gi-eedy ^ 
Europe. She learned her lesson from the League of Cam- 
bray and the long Turkish wars, and after the Council of 
Trent she abandoned her role as a great power, and con- 
tented herself with merely existing. 

Yet there can be little doubt that until the lesson of 
Cambray opened their eyes the majority of Venetians were 
unaware of the true state of the case. They were living in 
a fooFs paradise. In 1479, at the close of sixteen years of 
ruinous war with the Turks, a fire destroyed the ducal 
palace ; and there was not wanting a strong party which 
proposed to build a new and more magnificent palace, which 
should occupy all the space of the present building and the 
whole block on the other side of the narrow canal, as far as 
the Calle delle Eazze. The cost of this scheme may be 
measured by the fact that the restorations which were 
adopted as a compromise, entailed an outlay of 80,000 
ducats before they were half-way through. Venice seems 
to have believed in her own inexhaustible wealth ; and in a 
certain sense she was justified, but, as we shall have occasion 
to note later on, it was a wealth of individuals, not of the 
State exchequer, which was constantly empty. The Republic 
appeared to herself and to foreigners much more powerful 
than she really was. Distant monarchs like Ivan of Russia 
sent to court her as a great factor in the European 
comity ; but Fornovo disproved that claim ; and when 
she comes into collision with such powers as France, 
and even tlie Emperor, her inherent weakness is at once 

There is a mixture of blindness and of courage in her 
attitude. Her men of action are splendid in their belief 
that the Republic is inexhaustible ; but they are puzzled, 
confused, disheartened by an inaction at headquarters which 
they cannot undei'stand to be an inaction of vital paralysis. 
Only now and then an acute and dispassionate observer like 
Priuli notes in his Diary for 1500, " There can be no doubt 
that if we lose our marine we lose our name and our 


glory ; and in a very few years they wiU have disappeared 
entirely " ; or an able soldier, like Malipiero, sees 
that the only issue of such wars as those of Ferrara 

and Cremona must be that " we shall have to beg for peace 

and to restore all we have acquired." 


The] partition of Venetian territory proposed at Cambray — Information^ in 
Venice — The Council of Ten in charge — Doge's speech — Julias places 
Venice under interdict — Attitude of Venice — ^The French marching on 
Venetia — Battle of Agnadello — Loss of the mainland : its full meaning- 
Offers to restore the States of the Church ; and to hold mainland as a 
fief of the Empire — ^Venice prepares for a blockade — The Emperor's delay 
saves Venice — Padua recovered — Julius deserts the League — Venice makes 
submission to the Church ; and a secret protest against that sabmission 
— Foreign troops in Vicenza — ^The impregnability of the lagoons saves 
Venice — ^The Holy League against France — Cardona and Gaston de Foix— 
Gaston supports Bologna — Bergamo and Brescia return to Venice — Gaston 
besieges and captures Brescia — Bergamo yields — Gaston's march on 
Ravenna — Cardona retires — Battle of Ravenna — Death of Gaston — The 
French lose ground in Italy — Julius claims Parma — Venice in danger of 
reaping no benefit from the Holy League — She draws towards France- 
Treaty of Blois — Venetian army marches to join the French in the 
Milanese — French defeated at Novara — Venice exposed to attack from 
Cardona — Cardona at Mestre — Shots fired at Venice — The lagoons again 
save Venice — Frangipani in Friuli : repulsed by Savorgnan at Osopo — 
Francis I. : in Italy — Battle of Marignano — Milan occupied by the French 
— The peace of Brussels — Venice buys off Maximilian's claims — End of 
the complications of Cambray — Venice returns to the possession of her 
mainland provinces — Her altered position — Charles V. — His attitude 
towards Venice after Pavia — Demands money — Venice abandoned by 
France at the peace of Cambray — The position of Venice in Italy — Her 
physical weakness develops her diplomacy — Internal condition of Venice 
— Apparent wealth — Real poverty of the State — Sanudo*8 remarks- 
Doge's speech — Weakness of Venetian finance — Schemes for replenishing 
the treasury — Private luxury — Sumptuary laws — ^The Government appeals 
to private wealth — Whence did private wealth come ! — Landed estates and 
banking — Venice a pleasant residence — Inefficient police — Asylum in 
embassies — The plot of Abondio and Cavazzo — The French Embassy— 
The causes of Venetian longevity after the wars of the League of Cambray 
— Three points of vitality : the Turks, the Church, the Ten. 

In the partition of Venetian territory devised by the League 


of Cambray, Ravenna, Faenza, and Kimini, together with the 
districts of Imola and Cesena, were to go to the Pope; 
Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Roveredo, Friuli, and Istria 
to the Emperor; Brescia, Bergamo, Crema, Cremona, and the 
Ghiaradadda to France ; Briudiai, Otranto, GallipoH, Trani, 
to Naples and Spain ; the King of Hungary, if he joined 
the League, was to receive Ualmatia, and the Duke of 
Savoy the island of Cyprus — a complete dismemberment 
which would have reduced the poaaesaiona of the Republic 
to the lagoon islands from which she had originally emerged. 
Yet on 14th December, ten days after the conclusion of the 
treaty, the King of France assured the Venetian ambaasador 
ttiat there were no clauses in the treaty which were not for 
the good of Venice. At Venice, however, the saspicions of 
Uie Grovernment had been thoroughly rouaed; and by 29th 
December the Council of Ten was already in charge of the 
matter, owing, as they said, " to the rumours of evil practices 
And intentions towards us and our State." The wide extent 
[ the combination against the Republic was not grasped at 
; her suspicions were directed to the Emperor and the 
King of France. She did not surmise that the Pope, too, 
ind other Italian princes were parties to the League ; she 
1 every effort to induce them to join her in an alliance 
for the defence of Italy, but, of course, without success ; 
md she despatched ambassadors to the Courts of England 
ind of the Emperor to endeavour to detach them from the 


The failure of all these efforts to avert the storm 
umpelled the Doge to announce the danger in the Great 
CSouncil ; he concluded his speech by exhorting every Vene- 
" 1 to active measures for the defence of the State, and he 
[nself set the example by sending his plate to the Mint 
The attack began from Rome. In April the bull of 
^communication and interdict waa issued. The Council 
£ Ten, to whom liad been entrusted the management of all 
■eign affairs at this crisis, forbade the publication of the 
1 in Venice, and appointed special guards to prevent it 
rom being attached to the walls of the city ; at the same 
Ime they prepared an appeal to a future Council, which 


they succeeded in surreptitiously aflSxing to the door of 
S. Peter's in Eome. 

The Pope had opened the attack. It was followed '^^ * 
up by the King of France. The Venetian commanders 
were Orsini, Count of Pitigliano, and Alviano. Pitigliano, 
cautious and experienced, wished to remain on the east side 
of the Adda; Alviano, young and impetuous, desired to 
cross the Adda, and to seize Lodi before the French could 
develop their plan of campaign. 

Time was lost in discussion and in referring the ques- 
tion to Venice, where the Senate debated the matter, and 
finally ordered the Proveditori in Campo to decide. The 
decision was made, however, by the enemy, the French, who 
crossed the Adda in opposition to the advice of their general 
Trivulzio. Had the Venetians remained on the defensive, as 
Pitigliano recommended, they would probably have forced the 
French to recross the Adda in face of their strong artillery ; 
but Alviano ordered an advance. He was not supported 
by Pitigliano, and, after fighting with great bravery, he was 
wounded in the face, and only saved by the devotion of one 
of his men, who had never left his side the whole day. The 
rout of the Venetians was complete; round the Venetian 
guns lay a pile of corpses, estimated at four thousand. 
Alviano declared that he would have won the battle had 
he been in sole command ; but as it was, his impetuosity 
ended in his own captivity, and the annihilation of his 
army corps, leaving that commanded by Pitigliano too weak 
to render any valid resistance to the victorious French. 

The battle of Agnadello was fought on 14th May. 
The news reached Venice the following day. The terrible 
consequences of the disaster were appreciated at once. 
There was no army between the French and the lagoons ; 
and if the Imperial troops appeared on the scene, the whole 
programme of the League of Cambray could be inmiediately 
carried out, and the Republic, despoiled of her land dominions, 
would be reduced to the bare possession of her native waters. 

The loss of the mainland provinces meant much more to 
Venice now than it would have done a hundred years earlier ; 
for she was no longer a purely commercial State : the fall of 



Constantinople had virtually ruined her Levantine trade ; slia 
did not now live by the sea alone: much of her wealth 
was invested in the mainland ; moat of her supplies 
were drawn from that source. In short, the loss of the terra 
ferma meant tBe rapid starvation and death of the Eepublic, 
and there was no apparent means of averting that loss after 
the battle of AgnadeUo. The effect of the blow was seen 
in the agonised and paralysing alarm displayed in the 
Senate at Venice. The Government elected two new 
Proveditori, but the nominees refused the appointment. The 
Ten showed more firmness and courage. They endeavoured 
to raise men and money, though without much success; 
they wrote to the Governor of Breacia and to the ProvcdUore 
Gritti, that the executive had not lost heart, and would 
do everytliing to support the mainland cities and the army ; 
they sent at the same time most humble representations to 
Home and to the Emperor, offering in the one case to restore 
the papal territory, in the other to hold their mainland 
possessions as fiefs off the Empire, at a large annual fine. 
But the fate of all these mainland possessions was already 
decided by the battle of Agnadello. On 1st June, writes 
Sanudo in his Diaries, not a town in Lombardy remained 
to Venice, except Pizzighettone, Crema, and Asola ; " all the 
rest is lost ; yielded to the French without drawing sword." 
At Venice the Government prepared for a blockade, 
'They collected as much grain as was possible, established 
floating mills in the stronger tideways, and expelled all 
suspect persons from the city. 

Thus at a single blow the French had carried out the 
larger part of the provisions of Cambray. They had acquired 
all the territory which was due to them by the treaty of 
partition, and they were masters of the part which belonged 
to the Emperor. Louis, with a magnanimity which de- 
lighted the romantic temper of Maximilian, refused the 
keys of Verona, Vicenza, and Padua, bidding the citizens 
take them to their rightful lord, the Emperor. The French 
had completed their task in the annihilation of Venice ; but 
Maximilian was tardy in confronting his. His temper 
procrastinating, his pocket impecunious. His delays 


caused a turn in the tide of Venetian disasters. Padua was 
recovered on I7th July; and when the Emperor 
did at last appear before its walls, the city was so 
well defended that he was compelled to retire. 

But the conduct of another member of the League of 
Cambray was about to save the Eepublic from the worst con- 
sequences of the defeat of Agnadello. The Pope, now that 
he had recovered Eavenna, Faenza, Rimini, and the States 
which he claimed for the Church, remembered that he too 
was an Italian prince. He had no longer any need for the 
presence of the French or the Imperial troops, and he was 
by no means anxious to see Venice entirely blotted out 
from the map of Italy, leaving in its stead two such powerful 
neighbours as Louis and the Emperor. The Pope showed 
every disposition to desert the League and to come to terms 
with Venice. The Republic was imable to raise serious 
dijBSculties as to the terms, and in February 1510, 
a compact was concluded. Venice abandoned her 
appeal to a future Coimcil, acknowledged the justice of her 
excommunication, renounced her claim to tax the clergy 
and her ancient privilege of nomination to benefices ; she 
consented that clerics should be tried by ecclesiastical and 
not by civil courts; in short, the Republic openly with- 
drew from all the main points of her very independent 
position towards the Curia, and the extent of this renuncia- 
tion may be taken as a measure of her distress. But she 
had not fought the Roman Curia for so long without learn- 
ing the use and the value of some of its weapons ; and on 
the day on which the Republic authorised its representatives 
to make these concessions, it drew up in the Council of Ten 
a protest declaring the concessions void as being wrung from 
it by force. Such a reservation was consonant with the 
disingenuous policy of. the times. Francis I. held himself 
absolved from his oath to Charles V. by a similar quibble, 
and Cardinal Cesarini by a like sophistry induced the 
Hungarians to break their word to the Turks. The 
Republic, when her position became a little stronger, did not 
hesitate to display in public the proof of a duplicity which 
made all political faith impossible. 


The alliauce between Venice aud the Pope exposed the 
territory of the Republic to brutal outragea at the 
hands of the enemy. The Prince of Anhult marched 
upon Vicenza, which had returned to its allegiance to S. 
Mark. The troops of the Republic, under EagUone, were 
insufficient to defend the city, and retired. The people of 
Vicenza also fled before the invaders ; but about six thou- 
sand, who had thought to conceal themselves in a disused 
quarry near the town, were tracked to their hiding-place, 

IBnd all of them suffocated by the orders of a French captain 
of adventure named d'Herisson. 
Nevertheless, though Venetian territory still suffered at 
the hands of the allies, the defectioQ of the Pope, the slack. 
ness of the Emperor, and the growing jealousy of French 
successes, had really destroyed the power of the League and 
rendered it almost harmless. Venice owed her salvation to 
the impregnability of her natural position. Had she been a 
mainland city, like Padua, she must almost certainly have 
fallen before the French immediately after Agnadello ; but 
lOeated in her lagoons slie was herself unassailable. With 
! capital untouched there was always a fair prospect that 
tile rapid course of Italian politics and arms would lead her 
|>ack sooner or later to t)ie possession of her mainland cities. 
And this result actually happened. The triumph of France 
threw Spain, the Pope, and Venice together in a 
league, which the Pope called " Holy." England and 
Maximilian were, for the present, sleeping partners in the 
confederation. The army of the League was commanded by 
Saymond de Cardona; their enemies, the French, were under 
Oaston de Foix. The Pope's chief object was to recover 
Bologna, which had been lost in May 1511 by the panic- 
ricken flight of the Pope first, then of his legate Alidosio, 
1 of his general the Duke of Urbino. The army of the 
jjeague marched ou Bologna, and began the siege in January 
1512. But Gaston de Poix, by one of those 
brilliant marches which gained him the title of " The 
Ihunderbolt of Italy," threw himself into the town in 
February, and Cardona raised the siege, 

The moment Gaston left Lombardy to move to the help 


of Bologna, Brescia and Bergamo seized the opportanity 
to throw off the French yoke and to return to their 
Venetian allegiance. But Venice was unable to give 
them sufficient support. " The Thunderbolt" left Bologna, and 
sped across the plain to Brescia ; on his way he annihilated 
a Venetian division imder Baglione, in an engagement fought 
at four o'clock in the morning by starlight. He laid ai^e to 
Brescia, and mounted to the assault with bare feet, to give 
him hold upon the slippery groimd. The city feU, and ¥ras 
subjected to the most horrible treatment, which only served 
to impress upon its inhabitants the great di£ference between 
Venetian and any other rule. Bergamo submitted in order 
to avoid a similar fate. But the sleeping partners in the 
Holy League now began to declare their alliance. In face 
of the threatening attitude of England and the Emperor, 
Louis ordered Gaston de Foix to deliver a decisive battle 
which would place the Pope at the King's mercy. De Foix 
marched upon Bavenna, Cardona falling back before him ; 
but under the walls of the city Gaston allowed himself to be 
caught between the army of the League and the fortifica- 
tions. He was forced to attack Cardona's position. The 
French were victorious, but at a fearful loss ; and the French 
commander himseKdied on the field. This blow was fatal to 
the cause of France in North Italy. The battle of Bavenna 
was fought on 11th April; by the month of Jime, Louis 
held hardly any portion of the territory which he had 
acquired at the opening of the war in 1509. 

The success of the Holy League, however, soon brought 
about the inevitable result of jealousy among its com- 
ponents. The Pope claimed Parma and Piacenza; the 
Emperor showed no signs of restoring Verona and Vicenza 
to Venice. The Eepublic, the weakest member of the 
League, was in danger of acquiring no recompense for 
her expenditure. France no longer represented a danger ; 
the Emperor and the Pope did. Venice alone was abso- 
lutely powerless. The inevitable result followed : the 
Eepublic drew towards the power which was weakest 
and absent, therefore for the moment least likely to 
despoil her. She listened to the overtures of France, 


and the outcome was the treaty of Blois, signed m March 

The King of France was aware that the Emperor 
and Henry of England were preparing a joint attack upon him. 
He determined to recover the Milanese before the blow fell. 
The French army entered Lombardy, and the Venetians, 
under Alviano, marched to join it, recovering on their way 
all their territory up to the Adda, Cardona being too weak 
to offer any i-eaistance. But on 6 th June the French were 
surprised and completely routed at Novara. The whole 
army retired across the Alps, and Venice found herself alone, 
without a single ally in North Italy, with only Alviano's 
inadequate force between Cardona and the lagoons. Cardona 
advanced.recaptnring all the towns that Alviano had occupied, 
and pushed his troops down to the very shores of the lagoon. 
He burned Fusina and Meatre, and at Malghera he planted 
his cannon and fired a few defiant shots towards Venice. 
But Venice herself was ini])regnable ; again the lagoons 
saved the city that had risen upon their surface ; they and 
they alone had rescued the capital from the Huns, from 
Pepin, from the Hungarians, from Saracens, from Genoese, 
from Trivulzio after Agnadello, and now from Cardona after 
Novara. As at the beginning of her history, so now at its 
close, the indissoluble connection of the place and the 
people, the debt of Venice to the lagoons, was demonstrated 
once more by the impotence which compelled Cardona to 

Cardona retreated by way of Castelfranco and Schio. 
Alviano attempted to cut hia line of march, but was 
utterly defeated, and the Venetian provinces during 
the next year, 1514, were the scene of continual operations 
which yielded little result. Count Frangipani overran, 
tortured, devastated in Friidi, and was repulsed by Savorgnan 
before the strong castle of Osopo. But all these move- 
ments only sen'ed to display the essential weakness of . 
tlie Republic, and, as we shall presently see, to strain her 
resources of money and of courage to a point where they 
broke down. 

On the Ist January 1515 Louis XII. died. He was 


succeeded by Francis I., who at once showed his intentions 
as regards Italy, when he assumed the title of Duke 
of Milan. By the middle of July his army was 
ready, and the French accomplished the passage of the Alps 
over an unexplored route, and with a rapidity which took 
their enemies completely by surprise. The Venetians, who 
maintained their French alliance in fiace of the Emperor's 
attitude about the Veronese and the presence of Cardona in 
that province, were commanded by Alviano, and paralysed the 
Spanish army by holding Cardona in check under Verona. 
Francis, therefore, found himself opposed only by the Swiss, 
who, in great numbers, were in possession of Milan. They 
attacked the French at Marignano on the 13 th and 14th 
of September. The issue was still doubtful when the arrival 
of a Venetian detachment, which had been pushed forward 
by Alviano to support the King, decided the victory in 
favour of Francis. Milan at once fell to the French, 
and by 4th October they were masters of the citadel The 
victory of Marignano left Francis arbiter in Italy. The 
Pope, Leo X., came to terms with him at Bologna. Cardona 
was included in the treaty, and withdrew to Naples. 
Charles V., who succeeded to the throne of Spain in 1516, 
was not ready yet to measure arms with Francis ; 
and in August 1516 he entered into a treaty with 
the French King at Noyon. This was followed in December 
by the peace of Brussels, in which the Venetians were 

The Emperor was now the only original member of the 
League of Cambray who was still at war with the Eepubhc. 
He had always been the feeblest member of the League, 
and now, when left alone, without money and without men, 
Venice, even after all her misfortunes, was certain to prove 
more than a match for him in Italy. The Republic offered 
the Emperor a sum of money, and in return he abandoned all 
the places to which he laid claim under the partition clauses 
of Cambray. 

The peace of Brussels brought to a close the long and 
complicated series of events which sprang out of the League 
of Cambray. Venice, to all appearances, returned to her 

15 16. 


former position ; Jier mainland territory came willingly once 
more under the banner of S. Mark. But in fact 
ahe 13 quite a different Venice ; the trials through 
which she had passed, and the altered conditions of Italy, 
place her in a position wliich she had not hitherto occupied 
—a subordinate, dependent position from which she never 
afterwards escaped. 

In the struggle between Charles V. and Francis I., which 
occupies the years between 1523 and 1525, Venice plays 
hardly any, certainly no decisive role. The battle of 
Pavia made Charles master of Italy, and Venice was afraid 
that he would make her pay the price of her French 
sympathies. But it was no part of Charles's scheme to 
occupy Venetian territory ; he merely asked the Republic to 
supply him with 80,000 ducats. "I have heavy expenses," 
he said. " You are rich and have no expenses ; you ought 
to help me " ; and the Republic was obliged to find the 

By the peace of Cambray in 1529, Francis abandoned 
Venice, who had been once more drawn into alliance with 
him by the League of Cognac in 1526, wbicli was intended 

I counterpoise to the growing power of Cliarles. The 
League cost Venice 1,500,000 ducats, and she drew nothing 
from it. She was left out of consideration entirely at the 
peace of Cambray. Charles's settlement of Italy in 1529, 
which was based on the treaty of Barcelona, whereby the 
Hepuhlic surrendered Ravenna and Cervia to the Pope, 
and all the Apulian ports to the Emperor, left Venice with 
her mainland frontier at the Adda, the point she reached in 
Foseari's reign and under Carmagnola's leadership ; and the 
Adda remained her real frontier down to the fall of the 
Eepublic. Her days of expansion were over. 

We have followed the tedious complications of the war 
'between 1509 and 1516, because they offer the external 
proof of what had really taken place in the nature and 
position of Venice. These wars demonstrated that the city 
itself, the capital, was impregnable ; had it not been so, Venice 
would have disappeared from the political chess-board as 
}ompleteIy as Milan. But further, this impregnability of 


the capital, combined with the mutual jealousy of the powers 
which were endeavouring to occupy the mainland 
territory, produced this result that, neither power 
being able to seize and hold the capital, they neutralised 
one another, and Venice herself was always there, ready 
to step back and take repossession of her former dominions ; 
and this solution oflfered a compromise which both the 
rival powers were able to accept without diminishing 
their dignity, or strengthening their enemy's position. And 
so Venice remained a political factor in Italy. An alliance 
with her always counted for something in the political 
scale, therefore she was courted by Spain and by France. 
Her diplomacy, upon which she prided herself, was kept 
alive, and her vanity flattered. But she was incapable of 
an independent or an initiatory policy, and from this time 
forward we shall never find that she attempts such a 

At the same time, the Eepublic had saved her existence. 
She was not the appanage of any crown; she was still 
autarchic. But she had seen her existence placed in the 
greatest peril, and she never afterwards felt safe between 
the great European powers who were struggling for a pre- 
ponderance in Italy. Spain was a constant source of alarm 
to her, and this alarm gave to her policy a French tone. 
Venetians, in fact, after the League of Cambray, believed that 
their whole energies were required for their self-preservation. 
Diplomacy was the only weapon by which they thought that 
they could attain their object And hence it is that we find 
the growing influence of the Council of Ten ; the institution 
of the Three Inquisitors of State; the suspicion of am- 
bassadors at foreign courts ; the secrecy, the mystery, the 
sudden punishment of those who revealed State secrets — all 
the symptoms of a nervousness which was the result of a 
conscious weakness, and is the note of later Venetian diplo- 
macy. This attitude in the governing body accounts for the 
extraordinary importance which attached to Venetian diplo- 
macy, and explains the reputation which it acquired in the 
eyes of Europe. It also enables us to understand the 
tremulous excitement which stirred the whole city to its 


centre, and threw it into a panic at alarms which had so 
little foundation as the mmoured Spanish conspiracy 
or the alleged treason of Fosearini. Venice after 
Cambray was always in terror lest she should lose her 
freedom. She thought that diplomacy, vigilance, secrecy, 
silence, mystery, could save the State. Her real salvation 
lay in her impregnable natural position, and the jealousy 
aroused by any movement to absorb her mainland territory. 

So far we have followed the outward course of events 
produced by the League of Cambray, and have endeavoured 
to show the result they bore upon the external position of 
Venice as a member of the European comity. We must 
turn now to consider what was taJting place inside Venice 
during these momentous years. 

We shall have to note an apparent contradiction, the 
extreme poverty of the State and the contemporaneous 
development of luxury. The first ten months of the war, from 
January 1509 to October of the same year, cost the natioa no 
less than 1,700,000 ducats. The speech in which the Doge 
Loredan announced the attack as inevitable, closed with an 
appeal to private citizens, and an offer of the Doge's own 
private plate. When Cardona, after the battle of Novara, 
threatening Venice itself, the position was declared by 
Sanudo to be almost desperate. " Venice is obliged to beg 
for the possession of those lands which, now tliat she has 
lost her pre-eminence at sea, are her only resource ; for the 
vast expenditure, the loans, the taxes, the plate in the mint, 
the sale of public offices, the suspension of salaries, are in- 
idequate." The Doge once more addressed the Council, and 
laid before it the ruinous condition of the community. " The 
Spaniards and Germans have burned Malghera and Fusina; 
they are burning Mestre ; if they could they would make 
ahort work of us, for we are no more thau some 2500 flies, 
and what could we do against them ? But I have to announce 
that to-day our army has moved from Padua. It is full of 
spirit, and nothing is wanting but money. The treasury is 
unequal to these great expenses. Accordingly, in the first 
place, we order all debtors to the treasury to pay their arrears 
at ODce ; and in the second place we impose an income-tax 


of a fourth ; and if it had not been for help from private 
individuals like Zaccaria Gabriel, both the banks 
and the treasury would have been in a very bad 
way. We must go back to the example of the good old 
times, when a Contarini offered 60,000 ducats to the treasury, 
and a Corner brought fifteen bars of pure silver to the mint 
That was the way in which, though only simple fishermen, 
we raised our State to such a pitch of grandeur that it 
pleases God now to chastise us. Further, we invite volun- 
teers for service in Padua and Treviso ; those who are ready 
to serve are requested to enrol themselves. We must all 
help the commonwealth. There are some who are in debt to 
the State, and yet dower their daughters and spend money 
at home, which is an imspeakable shama I therefore uige 
every one to make his offering of money, jewels, robes, furni- 
ture ; and the names shall be published as a proof of their 
patriotism." But the Coimcil waited for the Doge to set 
the example; he did not, and the list remained blank 
The Grand Chancellor instantly opened the roll for volun- 
teers to Treviso and Padua ; " but not a soul moved," says 
Sanudo, " a thing of great moment and of very bad augury 
for the affairs of the State " — " E cossi va le nostrc cosse" 

From this speech it is clear that the finances of the 
Republic were not well managed. The appeals to private 
purses and the warnings to treasury debtors prove it 
Later on, in 1537, when Venice was at war with the Turk, 
it was found necessary to proceed with severity against the 
public debtors ; but the so-called severity consisted merely 
in selecting by lot twenty-five names from the black list, and 
distraining their goods for the debt ; plate and jewels were 
accepted in payment. In fact, the Eepublic was afraid to 
tax its subjects heavily, or to exact those taxes rigorously. 
She claimed to be popular, and to have the cor et amorem 
subditorum nostrorum, and she succeeded ; Brescia and Ber- 
gamo, Padua, Verona, Vicenza, were all willing to return 
under the rule of S. Mark ; but she paid the price in a 
weakened exchequer, which she dared not replenish at the 
cost of her provinces when her sea commerce was taken 
from her. 


Again, in 1539, at the close of the third Turkish war, 
Venice waa in straits for money. Five schemes 
for refreshing the treasury were advanced in the 
Senate, and debated. The first waa to raise two forced 
loans, taking 90 as 100, from the city, and two subsidies 
of 100,000 ducats each from the provinces. This scheme 
waa calculated to yield 240,000 ducats. The second 
was to levy a poll-tax upon all Venetian subjects in 
the capital and in the provinces alike, excepting those 
in orders and children under twelve. The tax was to he 
arranged upon a sliding scale, calculated upon house-rent 
for those who were not owners, and upon income for 
those who were. This scheme was expected to yield 
400,000 ducats. The third proposal was a tithe upon all 

omea. The fourth was the application of a tithe in 
kind ; and the fifth waa the exaction of six soldi for every 

,d, for every {campo) acre of land, and for every ducat of 
rental. This scheme was calculated to yield 186,750 ducats. 
The Senate adopted the third proposal, a tithe upon all in- 
comes ; but they were unable to cany out the operation. 
The cities of the mainland raised objections, and sent repre- 
Bentatives to Venice to support their pleas ; time was wasted 
and money was wanted. The scheme was abandoned for a 
direct tax on the industries iu Venice, a subsidy from the 
mainland provinces, and an iucreaae in the duty on cloth 
throughout the Venetian dominiona There is therefore no 
doubt that Venice, as a State, was constantly in want of 
. money during these wars, auJ that she was unable to take 
efficient steps for replenishing her treasury. 

It is impossible to make an accurate calculation of what 
these campaigns cost her ; no documents have been published 
■ even if they exist. But we know what the minimum must 
fcave been from two stray entries in Sanudo'a Diaries, one 
giving the cost of the war down to October 1509 as 1,700,000 
ducats; another stating that the &n(ffl %«, in 1526, cost the 
Eepublicl, 500,000 ducats; in all, 3,200,000. This was the 
.state of the case which was known to the Government. But 
to the majority of Venetians, and to the world at large, a very 
a^^ent aspect was presented. State ceremonies had never 


been more gorgeous ; private luxury had never touched such a 
pitch of refinement ; this is pre-eminently the epoch 
of those minute and meticulous sumptuary laws, by 
which the more rigid members of the Govemment hoped, in 
vain, to recall their fellow-citizens to the primitive simplicity 
and robustness of their fisher and merchant ancestry. Priuli 
in his Diary notes that the Carnival of 1510, with the defeat 
of Agnadello still recent in their memory, and the horrors of 
the Vicentine stone quarries not forty miles away, "was 
kept with as much gaiety, with as many masquerades, baUs, 
'and concerts, as if the Republic had been in her most 
flourishing days." The ambeussadors of Spain, of the Pope, 
of Hungary, that is to say of the powers who were united 
and sworn to undo Venice, were all of them present and 
sumptuously entertained at the marriage ceremony of 
Francesco Foscari and the daughter of Giovanni Venier. 
The members of the club, the Etemi, gave a pantomimic 
representation, in which France, Spain, and Hungary 
were characterised by suitable dances ; and yet the 
French were in possession of Brescia and Bergamo, and 
were holding Verona and Vicenza in the name of the 

In 1513, while the issue of the French descent upon the 
Milanese was still uncertain, Venice, with an impoverished 
exchequer, spent large sums upon the ceremony of con- 
ferring the standard and balton on Alviano. On the 13th 
of May the committee of nobles appointed to escort the 
general to the Senate, went to wait on him at his palace. 
They were robed in cloth of gold and scarlet silk, and were 
preceded by trumpeters. Alviano, in a robe of gold brocade, 
took the head of the procession ; he was followed by his 
household in white and red liveries, and by his French pages 
in velvet suits of red and white. The Doge received him 
in the hall of the Senate. He was surrounded by the 
ambassadors of all the powers except Spain. When Alviano 
reached the Senate chamber, the Doge rose, and both together, 
followed by the whole brilliant assembly, passed down the 
stairs and entered S. Mark's, where the Patriarch celebrated 
mass, and the Doge gave into Alviano's hands the consecrated 


banner of the patron saint and the b^ton of commander- 
in-chief of the Republic. 

In 1527, while the women and children were 
crying in the streets for bread, and while the plague was at 
tiieir very doors, Sanudo, that faithfvd and impartial eye- 
witness, with hia coldly accurate pen, notes that the carnival 
"balls and masi^uerades in the palaces of the rich never 
eeased for a moment. 

Venice presents a curious spectacle — a State mad with 
^pleasure in the midst of its death - throea ; for while the 
KepubHc made this brave figure with its ceremonies 
in public, its masks and balls in private, it was engaged 
upon wars which, as one of her own writers has put it, 
" were carried on at a most serious loss of reputation, and 
to the clear demonstration that the forces of this State are 
quite unequal to their task ; while every prince in Europe 
18 against us. From all of which things we may learn that 
tbe art of peace is the true preservative and aliment of this 
Hepublic, while war is its poison and its death." Venice 
a surely passing away for ever from among the ranks of 

le great nations. 

If, however, the public treasury often proved empty, there 

I no doubt that there was abundance of private wealth. 
Upon this the Government made frequent calls to supple- 
ment the deficits in the exchequer, The call was answered 
with an enthusiasm which diminished in proportion to the 
frequency of these irregular appeals. Foscari found himself 
E>bliged to warn the Government that it was useless to talk of 
(ontinuing a war as the private purses were nearly exhausted ; 
md Loredan found no one to answer his appeal for funds 

I 1509. The Venetians were very liberal in their patriotic 
mpport of the State ; but it was not to be expected that 
ibe Government could be successfully conducted on such an 

isound financial basis as reliEince on voluntary subsidies. 
Ifach of this great private wealth was devoted to the 
Bagniflcent spectacles in which Venice delighted, and with 
irhicb she dazzled Europe and herself. We know that on 
ne occasion each member of the Company of the Hose 

otributed 2000 ducats to furnish forth one festival If 
2 a 


we ask where were these riches stored ? whence came the 
moneys which maintained the gorgeous pageant of 
Venetian splendour ? the answer is not so easy to 
find. It is probable, however, that when commerce in the 
East received a check by the fall of Constantinople and its 
death-blow by the discovery of the Cape route, the wealth 
which had been amassed and continually re-employed in that 
commerce was concentrated either' in large estates in the 
newly acquired mainland provinces, or was diverted to bank- 
ing purposes. We know that the great Venetian families 
acquired whole districts on the continent, such as the vast 
Pisani properties along -the Gorzone and the Adige, the 
Memo estates in Friuli, the Morosini territories near Ceneda. 
Other families, such as the Lippomano, Badoer, Priuli, 
developed banking businesses, and through their Government 
and its ambassadors supplied the wants of the Spanish and 
French monarchs. These banking houses were supported 
partly by what remained of Venetian commerce and partlj 
by the landed estates of the great nobles. But banking 
alone cannot maintain itself; it is a non-recuperative 
business. Lacking the aliment of commerce, which was 
gradually dwindling away, and therefore exposed to losses 
from bad debts without the means for repairing them, 
the whole banking system had become inflated and burst 
before the close of the sixteenth century. Out of 130 
banking houses, large and small, only six weathered the 
storm. Landed estates remained the great source of whatever 
private fortunes existed in the Republic, after the collapse 
of her commerce. 

The impregnability of her situation made Venice a 
desirable residence in those troublesome times ; she was the 
only city in Italy which had never been sacked, never 
exposed to the brutality of foreign soldiery. All those to 
whom war was a horror naturally sought her as an asylum. 
The arts flourished ; the apparatus of comfort was carried 
to an excessive pitch. Morals became relaxed ; the police 
was inefficient, and, indeed, almost indifferent on the 
subject of private crime. Only on the delicate groimd 
of political misdemeanour it showed that it could be 


ctiye if it chose. A thief was condemned to he hanged in 
the Piazzetta ; the police officer in charge of the 
execution was his friend ; at the moment when 
he noose was placed Toitnd his neck, his friend stepped 
Op and removed it, saying, " There, you see uow whether 
I like you or not," and hoth disappeared in the crowd ; 
lor was the terrible Council of Ten ever able to lay hands 
cither. The palaces of foreign ambassadors became 
he asylum for hosts of bravi and rufBans, maintained 
pay of the ambassador for service as spies or 
The Government was almost powerless to deal 
rith this lawless horde. As an instance we have the episode 
" Abondio, Cavazza, and Valier. In 1539 a secretary of 
he Ten and a secretary to the Senate, both in the pay of 
IVance, kept the French ambassador at the Porte informed 
\ all the deliberations which took place in the Venetian 
iouncils, and thereby rendered the terms of the peace with 
he Turks more disastrous to the llepublic thau they would 
therwise have been. The treason Avas discovered and one 
' the secretaries arrested. But an accomplice, a certain 
Lgostino Abondio, took refuge at the French Embassy. 
!fae Government, after some hesitation, resolved to send an 
tvoffodor di Comun, with the chief of the police and his 
se, to the Embassy in the Calle S. Moise. The Avogador, 
lorzi, arrived at the Embassy, and left his men outside while 
He met three of the ambassador's retainers 
1 the courtyard and begged them to t«Il their master that 
he Avogador wished to speak with him. But one of those 
ten rushed up the palace stairs roaring, raging, and call- 
Ig for help. Zorzi followed him, trying to quiet him, 
fut was met by an armed man on the first landing. To 
Zorzi repeated hia request to see the ambassador; 
efore be could finish his remarks, however, the staircase 
B swarming with men armed to the teeth. Zorzi cried, 
Stand back ! let none move ! " They came on at him, and 
aliged to call for the police officer and his men, 
?hom charged in, and a flght on the stairs began. 
! some of the ambassador's hravi had climbed on 
f of the palace and began to bombard the remaining 


police force in the Calle with tiles and stones, and the 
Avogador was obliged to retire. The Ten, however, 
took strong measures. They ordered out 600 men ^^ 
from the Arsenal, marched them down to the Embassy, 
forced an entrance through the wall of the court, which 
was barricaded, and the ambassador thought it prudent to 
give way ; he| surrendered Abondio, not, however, before he 
had considered whether he should cause him to be strangled 
in order to. prevent the revelation of any secrets damaging 
to his master, the French King. The episode is character- 
istic of the time and of the condition of Venice. 

After the disastrous lesson of the League of Cambray 
the Eepublic continued to exist, it is true, but it is no 
longer an existence of activity, of initiative. Venice owed 
her longevity to two causes — the intangibility of the city, 
secure in the lagoons, and the strong constitutional forma- 
tion which she had evolved in the years of her vital 
growth. Her whole energies now were directed to a double 
object — her self-preservation by means of an elaborate 
diplomacy and an awe-inspiring executive, and the presenta- 
tion of herself before Europe, as a city of refinement and 
pleasure, a gorgeous pageant to which the world was invited 
as spectator. 

On three points only does the Eepublic display any 
remains of her old vitality : she has still to fight a losing 
battle with the Turks ; the rigidity and absolutism of her 
oligarchical constitution is further accentuated by the 
development of the Council of Ten ; and Venice, under the 
leadership of Paolo Sarpi, takes a foremost place in the 
battle of the State against the Church. 


Voniofl : Bhown ia the Valtelline wars— The war of the 
-The Turkish whth — Th< eourage displayud in these 
nut ■ contrast to Venetian conduct on the tuaiaiand — The home 
GoTemmetit hampersd by ita attempts at diplomacy — Suleiman — Capture 
of Khodes — Pirncy in the Leraut : always an eicuse for van — Venice 
deticed to remain at peace with the Porte ; but ia forced into war— 
Barbutoaa— Suleiman taxes Venetian merchants— War declared by 
SulsimoD — Defence of Corfu— Barbaroasa seizes Greek iakitda— Venice 
endeaTours to form a league : formed ; but of no help — Doris's conduct 
— Venice aues for peace — Turkish terms aevere- B^son, treachery at 
Venice- Seliio the Drunkard— Attack on Cyprus — Venice appeals for 
help to Europe- Philip II, prpmiaea a fleot— Dofencoa of Cyprus— The 
fleet isila — Waits st Zara for Spanish ships : fatal — Turks land in 
Cyprus- Spanish fleet arrives at Corfu— Fleet at Candia— QuiwrelB — 
Dona's conduct — Siege and fall of Nicosia — Siege and fall of Famagosta 
—Death of Marcantonio Bragadin— Loss of Cypros- Battle of Lepanto — 
Inadequate result — Giacomo Poscarini's remarks — Peace — Venice protests 
■gainst Spanish treachery— Visit of Henry III. of Franco to Venice- 
FUfpie — Venice remains at peace by paying for it — Sultan Ibrahim ; 
reiolTes to attack Candia ; his excuse — Venetian [ambassadDr e.t Con- 
Btanliaople : hia report- War inevitable — Defencea of Candia — Turks 
land — N^otiations at Venice for help hamper movement of Venetian 
fleet — Siege of Canea — Fall of the town— Exhaustion of Venetian treaanry 
— Admission of new families t^ the Patriciate — Candia still resists — 
Turkish blockade — Venetian fleet in the Dardanelles— Loziaro Mocenigo : 
threatens Constantinople ; his death— Siege of the town of Candia^ 
Venetian courage attracts attention of Europe — French supports : their 
nselessness — Francesco Moroaini — Fall of Candia — Peace — Morosini's 
Peloponnesian campaign— Bombards Athens— The Korea gained, and 
lost — Peace of Passarowitz. 

B blow dealt at Venice by 'the wars of the League of 
Cambray, and the final settlement of Italy by Charles 
v., destroyed for ever any prospect of becoming a 
great European power which she might have enjoyed. The 


rest of her history in her relation to the Christian powers is 
entirely occupied with the question of her self- 
preservation face to face with such overshadowing 
monarchies as Spain, France, the Empire. By one or the 
other of these she was constantly solicited; her alliance 
still counted for something in the balance of power. 
The sole object of the Republic was to remain neutral, 
to offend no one. Her weakness on land debarred her 
from taking such a share in war as would have entitled her 
to an increase of territory, or assured her in obtainiiig 
it She was unable to guard even her own neutrality. 
She had no native land army worth speaking of, and 
she could not afford to raise large mercenary forces. 
The provincial militia, called the Ordinanze, which was 
recruited from the population of the various districts, 
numbered, on paper, 30,000 men, at the most; it cost 
100,000 ducats a year, and the troops were drilled eveiy 
Sunday. But the regiments were not kept up to their ftill 
numbers, and drill and discipline became relaxed. Troops 
such as these were incapable of preserving the integrity of 
Venetian soil during a campaign in which Venice herself 
was neutral. 

Proof of this impotence upon the mainland is abundantly 
displayed in the attitude of the Republic during the war of 
the Valtelline, throughout the thirty years' war generally, and 
during the war of the Spanish succession. The Valtelline 
is that long valley of the Adda which stretches from the 
head of the Lake of Como to the Stelvio Pass. The 
possession of this valley by Spain, therefore, would have 
connected Spanish territory in the Duchy of Milan with 
Imperial territory in the Tyrol, and would have drawn a 
complete Austro- Spanish cordon round the dominions of 
Venice ; cutting the Republic off from any outlet towards 
Trance or Germany, exposing her to a direct Spanish attack 
from Milan, and depriving her of any flank assistance from 
her ally, France, by way of Tirano, the Aprica, and Edola 
The independence of that valley was therefore a matter of 
vital importance to Venice. The Valtelline, intensely 
Catholic in its religious sentiment, had passed under the 



yoke of the Protestant Grisona. Fuentes, Spanish Governor 

at Milan, made use of the Inevitahle hatred inspired 

by the Eiindners, to stir the Valtelliuesi to revolt; 

and in 1620, a general massacre of all I'rotestants in the 

valley took place. Spanish supremacy was secured for a time. 

■The Grisons asked Venice to support them in recovering the 

Valtelline. But the Republic never had been in a position 

to give any .actual support to her allies of the Grisons; she 

lived in perpetual dread of an attack from the Spanish 

Duchy of Milan, and did nothing but spend money and 

temporise. When the other allies oE the Grisons, the 

French, came upon the scene, the Venetian ambassador 

Contarini heard some very plain speaking from Richelieu, 

■who told him that the Republic was trifling with France, 

and that she had better take care ; that she was always 

declaring herself ready, and never moving a regiment ; that 

her obligations required her to put 12,000 infantry and 

4000 horse in the field, and yet she had not 4000 troops 

at command in all ; that he suspected the Republic of play- 

ig into the hands of Spain. The Republic was not playing 

ito the hands of Spain ; she was simply miserably weak ou 

le mainland ; she had no army ; and her diplomacy was 

lirected to the dangerous task of endeavouring to lower the 

of Spain, and to countermine all Spanish moves, 

while avoiding an open rupture with her powerful neighbour, 

especially as she had no faith that France would support her. 

Again in the war of the Spanish succession the French 

were very anxious to prevent the Imperial troops from 

itering Italy by way of the Tyrol, to the support of the 

'uchy of Milan, D'Estrees, the French ambassador, was 

Bent to Venice to beg the Republic to close the passes 

against Prince Eugene. Tlie debate in the Senate explicitly 

declared the position of Venice as regards European powers. 

The party which desired to refuse the French demands 

pointed out, and with success, that the Republic possessed 

adequate army ; tiiat the treasury was empty ; that to 

'use passage to the Imperial troops would expose Venice 

Imperial attack in Dalmatia ; that French support was 

ed by history to be a delusion. The Govenunent, 



therefore, resolved to adopt *" a decorous, armed neutrality, 
and by representations and complaints to keep both 
belligerents within bounds." Such were their hopes, 
or perhaps hardly hopes ; but the facts soon undeceived them. 
Eugene came down the valley of the Adige, Catinat crossed 
the Mincio, and both armies proceeded to manoeuvre in the 
Venetian territory of Verona, unimpeded by anything more 
serious than " representations and complaints." The Prov^ 
ditore Molin reports from Verona : " While your excellencies 
were exchanging views with the ambassadors in Venice, the 
Marshal Catinat overran the territory between the Adige 
and the Lago di Garda; a few days later the Prince de 
Vaudemont informed me that he too was going to eat a 
trout on the laka The troops have now moved up to 
Eivoli, where they are entrenched. At first they paid for 
what they took, but now they help themselves. Both armies 
are occupying winter quarters, and fortifying themselves 
wherever they choose; they cut the country with cordons, 
interrupt commerce, and blockade the principal cities." No 
situation could have been more humiliating. It is not need- 
ful to multiply examples of the absolute helplessness of the 
Bepublic upon the mainland. Indeed it would seem that 
all through her history, whenever she touched terra ferma, 
she lost her orientation, became distracted and incapable; 
the sea was her true element, and on dry land she is as 
impotent as a fish out of water. 

But the long decline of Venice was not occupied 
solely, nor indeed chiefly, with her diplomatic complica- 
tions on the mainland of Italy, and at the courts of 
European sovereigns. In the preceding chapter we stated 
that after the settlement of Charles V., when almost all 
Italian States fell into a torpor, Venice remained vital 
on three points : she contiuued her struggle with the 
Turk; she developed and enunciated her view of the 
relations between Church and State; and her constitution 
still showed some activity in the expansion of the Council 
of Ten. These three lines of vital activity are sufficiently 
detached from one another to cdlow us to follow them 


If on the mairdand, where she should never have Bet 
foot, the Venetian Republic was dying in ignominy 
and ridicule, the East, which she should never have 
left, where she learned the first use of her arms, whence 
she drew her early riches, saw the Eepublic burning her 
life out in a blaze of heroism and glory. Never in the 
whole course of Venetian history had individual Venetians 
displayed such qualities of courage, endurance, and resource 
aa during the last two hundred years of her struggle with 
the Turk, The home Government, it is true, remained 
vacillating, feeble ; hampered by its European complications, 
(md tenaciously clinging to its false belief that it could 
manipulate the princes of Europe, through diplomacy, into 
lending active assistance in this 1 if e-and -death conflict, 
where Venetian interests were those cliiefly at stake. But 
the individual men of action are heroes, and they pass 
through a series of the most heart-thrilling episodes in 
which the siege and defence of Famagosta and of Candia 
stand out as the most illustrious examples. The Republic 
emerged from the struggle a loser on each occasion, until the 
last campaign of Francesco Morosini, when success came too 
late ; but she proved that her sailors were still the same sea- 
dogs who had made the Mediterranean a Venetian lake, and 
by fully occupying the Turk, she prevented him from spread- 
ing westward, though at the price of her own existence. 

After the treaty of Bologna, Venice might have hoped 
for a period of repose. Her mainland territories were 
secured to her, and she was nominally at peace with the 
Turk ; she had made ternas with Suleiman, which preserved 
) her the traffic of Aleppo and Beirut But Suleiman was 
; he had taken Rhodes in 1522, and his career of 
Conquest was not closed. He contemplated an attack on 
the Morea. Peace between Venice and the Turk was never 
1 complete peace. There was a constant irritation kept up 
by acts of piracy, and therefore an excuse ever ready for that 
party which desired to declare war. Venice, however, was 
not likely to be the aggressor, for peace with the Turk was 
r almost a sine qud noit of her existence. Experience had 
aaght her that, whatever promises Surope might make, she 


alone would bear the burden of the war. Her policy, therefore, 
was to do all that in her lay to remain on friendly 
terms with the Porte. Accordingly the Eepublic ^ * 
declined to join a league of the Pope, the Emperor, and some 
Italian States, if the objects of that league had any reference to 
Ottoman affairs; and in 1533, when her admiral 
Girolamo da Canal had defeated a hostile Turkish ^ 
squadron off the island of Gandia, the Government sent 
humble apologies to the Sultan, and even thought of cashiering 
Canal with a view to pacifying the Turk. A few years 
later, in 1537, an opportunity occurred for driving the 
Venetians into a war. Suleiman and Francis I. were in 
alliance against the Emperor, and the joint Turkish and 
French fleet, under Chaireddin Barbarossa, were acting 
together in the Mediterranean. Suleiman invited Yenioe 
to join the confederacy, and, when he met with a 
refusal, he taxed all Venetian merchants in Syria 
ten per cent on the value of their goods, and otherwise vexed 
their commerce. His fleet under Barbarossa was sent to 
cruise in the waters of Apulia; there it inevitably came 
into collision with Venetian ships, which defended them- 
selves. Suleiman said he was attacked, and declared war. 
On 26th August the fleet of Barbarossa was sighted in the 
channel between Corfu and the mainland. Venice at once 
asked for help from the powers, while sending out her own 
fleet to defend Corfu. She received abundant promises, but 
little else ; and Doria, who commanded the Spanish ships, 
actually sailed away, leaving Venice alone to the defence 
of the island. This she undertook with great courage, and 
by 15 th September she had forced the Turks to raise the 
siege. Barbarossa, after retiring from Corfu, occupied a 
number of the islands in the Archipelago which were under 
the immediate rule of Venetian noblemen, and the quasi 
protection of the Eepublic. Venice was unable to defend 
these. She had already engaged in that fatal policy of 
attempting to form alliances against the Turk ; a policy 
destined to hamper all the movements of the home Grovem- 
ment, without securing any increase of strength. The 
Emperor, the Pope, and Venice entered on a league, by the 


terms of which tliu Ottoman Empire was light-heartedly 

partitioned : Venice hoped to receive all the islands 

and coast towns to which ahe could show any claim ; 

the Emperor expected to recover all the Imperial rights and 

possessions as held by the Emperors of the East ; and the Pope 

looked for the creation of a suitable dominion as bis share. At 

Venice great preparations were undertaken, but nowhere else. 

I>oria joined the Venetians with a part of his Spanish 

fleet ; his presence, however, proved of more harm 

than service to his allies. His excessive caution, if it 

were not downright treachery, prevented the Venetian 

admiral, Capello, from carrying out his operations at Prevpsa 

with sufficient ilan to secure a victory. The issue of the 

combat was doubtful, and the honours rested with the Turks, 

for the whole allied fleet withdrew to Corfu. 

The confederation had proved less than helpful to 
Venice. The Republic had spent so much money that she 
found herself obliged to adopt extraordinary measures of 
taxation to replenish the treasury ; and the hope of assist- 
ance from the league had delayed her from following up Bar- 
barossa after his repulse at Corfu, and thus allowed him time 
to seize Scyros, j'Egina, Patuioe, and Tinos. The Emperor 
showed no signs of actively supporting the Republic, and 
Venice was compelled to open negotiations for peace. Her 
minister found the Turks very resolute upon the cession of 
Nanplia and Malvasia. All efforts to save these two places, 
even the offers of lai^e sums of money in compensation, 
proved fruitless. Such obstinacy on the part of the Turks 
surprised the Venetians ; but the Sultan declined any other 
proposals, and in 1540 peace was concluded upon 
these disastrous terms. It waa only subsequently 
that the Republic learned how the Turk had already been 
treacherously informed of the secret orders from the Council 
of Ten to the ambassador at the Porte, authorising him to 
yield upon the subject of Nauplia and Malvasia, if ^U else 
failed- This ruinous treaty of 154-0 closed the third Turkish 
■war, by which Venice lost still more of her Empire in the 

In the year 1566 the Sultan Selim, the Drunkard, 


succeeded Suleiman the Magnificent^ and the Eepublic soon 
had re&son to believe that the new Sultan intended 
to occupy Cyprus. It was rumoured that the 
conquest of that island had been suggested to him by his 
powerful favourite, the Jew Nassi, who inflamed the Saltan's 
mind by a glowing description of Cyprian vintages. There 
is little doubt that Nassi was the prime instigator of 
the attack ; and Selim, while discussing his plan of cam- 
paign, exclaimed, ''K we conquer the island thou shalt 
be King ! " The Sultan was resolved on the enterprise. In 
1570 an agent was despatched to Venice to claim the 
su^ender of Cyprus, on the ground that it was a dependency 
of Mecca. On the receipt of this outrageous demand the 
College informed the Nuncio, who, in his speech, exhorted 
Venice to strenuous resistance ; he promised, in the name of 
his Holiness, that the Eepublic should be supported by 
Europe ; he assured the Venetians that this time they had 
to deal not with a warrior Sultan, such as Suleiman, but 
with a Sfirdanapalus, consumed by luxury and vice. The 
Eepublic endeavoured to translate these promises into 
concrete terms of assistance. Her appeal to the Pope led him 
to recommend her cause to Philip II., who, after some 
hesitation, guaranteed fifty galleys. The King of Portugal 
refused help, and the Emperor gave one of those usual 
promises which meant nothing. In short, the Spanish 
galleys were the only support which Venice could look for 
at the hands of Europe. 

Military engineers and a considerable amount of artillery 
and ammunition had been already despatched to Cyprus; 
reinforcements were ordered from Candia, and volunteers 
raised in the mainland provinces. The fleet, numbering 
upwards of two hundred sail, was placed under the conmiand 
of Girolamo Zane. He sailed from the Eiva degli 
Schiavoni amid every circumstance of pomp and with '"* 
every ceremony of religion ; but instead of making straight 
for Cyprus, he waited at Zara, to be joined by the promised 
galleys from Spain, and the disastrous consequences of an 
allied war began once more. The time lost at Zara was not 
only ruinous to the health and the discipline of the fleet ; 


I it bore worse fruit in allowing the Turk to land on Cyprus. 

and enabling bira to isolate Nicosia and Famagoata. 

Zane was governed by orders from home, and they 

I" were marked by an excess of caution. After long delay he 

I received instructions to move on Corfu, and there to await the 

I allies. Doria was the first to arrive ; but his presence was 

I a disappointment, not a support, for he declared that he had 

) orders to act in conjunction with the Venetian admiral. 

[ More time was wasted at Corfu, during which, however, 

some reinforcements Irom the Pope under the command of 

Marcantonio Colonna joined the confederates. At last, on 

Ist September, the allied fleet was able to put to sea and to 

L make towards Cyprus. But at Candia it cast anchor, and a 

■ divergence of opinion began to show itself among the three 

"admirals, Zane, Colonna, and Doria. The Venetian wished to 

push on to the relief of Cyprus ; others suggested an attack on 

the Dardanelles, which would compel the Turk to withdraw 

from Cyprus, or would at least prevent him from sending 

reinforcements — a plan of campaign adopted with great 

BQCcess in the suliaeq^uent war of Candia; Doria finally 

announced that the season was too far advanced and that 

be would not sail at all. Again there was a pitiful waste 

of time. It does not appear to have been the fault of the 

Venetian admiral, for he did all that in liini lay to stir his 

indifferent colleagues to action. He succeeded at last in 

wringing a consensus from Colonna and Doria, when suddenly 

a violent quarrel as to their respective precedence in the fleet 

sprang up between these two, and Doria in a fury set his 

sails and disappeared to westward. 

Meantime, in Cyprus, the Turk had not failed to take 
foil advantage of the absence of any fleet to prevent him 
&oni landing. The Pasha Piali had disembarked troops, 
unopposed, at Limasol as early as 1st July, that is two 
months before the Venetian fleet sailed from Corfu. This 
operation gave the Turks the command of a landing-place, 
and they were able to pour fresh forces into the island. 
This they continued to do, till Nicolo Dandolo was shut 
up in Nicosia, and Marcantonio Bragadin in Famagosta. 
^imd both towns were isolated. The garrison of Nicosia 


numbered 50,000, of which, however, not more than 5000 
or. 6000 were regular troops; the rest were the 
servants and dependants of local lords, or townsfolk. 
The bombardment began. Great breaches were opened in the 
walls. No signs of the Venetian fleet appeared upon the 
offing, and help from Famagosta could not be expected. At 
last the garrison resolved upon a sortie, an expedient which 
Dandolo had hitherto refused to sanction. On the 15th 
August, the Assumption of the Madonna, about midday, when 
the sun, at its hottest, had compelled a cessation of the Turkish 
fire, Cesare Piovene, with part of the garrison, stole out of 
the city. He was upon the Turks before they were awaie 
of what was happening. He pierced through two lines of 
entrenchments, spiking the guns, and might have broken 
the Turkish cordon completely, had he been supported from 
the town. But Dandolo refused to allow the rest of the 
garrison to follow up Piovene's success. The Turks began to 
hold their ground; the sortie was first checked, and then thrust 
back upon the outworks. The failure of Piovene's gallant 
effort sealed the fate of Nicosia. After a last desperate 
street fight, Mustafa gained possession of the city. Dan- 
dolo and most of the Italians were killed, and two thousand 
of the inhabitants reserved for slavery. The spoils were 
placed on board three Turkish galleys, which set sail 
for Constantinople ; but they had not cleared the harbour 
before one of the slave women, in an access of desperation, 
seized a torch and set fire to the powder magazine ; all 
three vessels went to the bottom. Dandolo's head was 
sent to Bragadin at Famagosta as a warning of the fate 
which lay in store for him. 

When the news reached Venice, though the Govern- 
ment made fresh preparations for the relief of Famagosta, 
it returned once more to its tedious and fatal policy of 
endeavouring to secure a formal league with Spain and the 
Emperor against the Turk. The Emperor refused on the 
ground of his eight years* truce with Selim, concluded in 
1567 ; Spain, however, showed more readiness, though the 
negotiations hung fire for so long that when the treaty was 
concluded in July 1571, it was already too late to save 


Cyprus, The Venetian fleet lay at Messina waiting for 
the Spanish galleys under Don John of Austria, while 
'' ■ Famagosta was capitulating. 
In Famagosta Bragadin had refused to accept the warn- 
ing conveyed by Dandolo's gory head. During the winter 
of 1570-71 the Venetians had been able to throw a small' 
einforcement of 1400 infantry and some guns and ammuni- 
tion into the town. But, all t«ld, Bragadin fouud that 
garrison did not number more than 7400 men. With 
this force he prepared to resist the attack of Mustafa at 
head of 50,000 Turks. No doubt the hope of relief 
from the Venetian fleet lent to the leaguered city fresh 
courage for its great resistance. 

The Turks began the bombardment of the town from 
en forts. Breaches soon appeared in the walls ; but 
)ehiQd these openings, the assaulting parties found barri- 
leades of casks and sacks, with loopholes for the harque- 
)U3ses, which flung them back. Household furnitiu'e, 
jedding, clothes, everything available, were thrown into the 
iaches, where the women, the monks, the Biahop of 
masol, worked hand in hand with the soldiery. But the 
^wder was running short, and the enemy renewed their 
Wsaulta with troops which, owing to their vast numbers, 
me fresh to the attack, while the besieged were slowly 
(Lecimated and exhausted. The population began to perceive 
Uiat longer resistance was impossible. Ko fleet appeared to 
Beaward, and on 2iid August Bragadin consented to hoist 
^e white flag. 

The terms which he secured were highly honourable, 
lie Turks were loud in their praises of his valour : they 
kllowed the garrison to march out with flags, guns, and 
ihurch bells, and supplied ships for the transport of such of 
the population as wished to leave the town. Most of these 
had gone on board, and Bragadin, with some of his officers, 
either invited or of his own accord, went to pay a visit to 
Mustafa, and to hand over the keys of the city. The 
Venetian commander met with a courteous reception ; and 
the conversation in Mustafa's tent was cordial in the 
eztrema All of a sudden the Turk said, " 'What security 


are you going to give me for the Turkish ships which 
I am lending you?" Bragadin replied, "The 
public word of honour." Mustafa laughed, rather ^ ' 
contemptuously, and said he wished for some more 
solid guarantee — hostages, for example. Bragadin refused. 
Instantly Mustafa burst into a passion; Lorenzo Tiepolo 
was hanged, while Baglione, Martinengo, and Queiini were cat 
to pieces on the spot. Bragadin himself was first mutilated, 
and then, after witnessing all the horrors of a sack to 
which Mustafa abandoned the unhappy city, he was flayed 
alive on the public square. His skin was stuffed with straw 
and paraded, under a red umbrella, through the streets of 
Famagosta, then hung to the yardarm of a Turkish ship, 
and so conveyed in triumph to Constantinople. This grim 
trophy of so much valour, and so much barbarity, was stolen 
in 1580 from the arsenal at Constantinople and deposited 
in the church of San Gregorio, at Venice, whence it was 
removed in 1596, and rests now in an urn at the church 
of SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Thus Cyprus was lost to 
Venice without a single blow being struck in its defence by 
the Venetian fleet, which never came so much as within 
sight of the island during the whole period of its heroic 

When too late, the allied fleet of 250 sail moved fix)m 
Messina to Corfu. Sebastian Venier was in command of 
the Venetian division, and insisted, at a council of war, that 
the allies should at once attack the Turks. On the 7th 
October the fleet lay off Lepanto, where the Ottoman arma- 
ment was known to be at anchor. The battle of Lepanto lasted 
five hours, and resulted in a complete victory for the allies. 
The losses are estimated at 8000 Christians and 30,000 
Turks, including the commander-in-chief, Ali Pasha; 117 
galleys came into the hands of the confederates. The chief 
glory of the victory rests with Sebastian Venier and the 
Venetians ; and news was at once sent to the capital On 
the 18th October the despatch boat entered the Lido, with 
Turkish flags trailing from her stem, and Turkish turbans 
piled upon the deck. Instantly all business was suspended 
in the city ; the shops were closed with the notice, " For 


the deatb of the Turk," though tliat was premature ; the 
Government attended a Te Dtum. in S. Mark's, and 
Paolo Paruta pronounced the funeral eulogy of tliose 
■who had (alien in the battle. 

But, great as the victory had been, and reasonable as 
were the rejoicings at Venice, the result proved absolutely 
inadequate. The Itepublic desired to foUow up the victory, 
and to press on at ouce to Constantinople, in the reasonable 
hope of crushing the Ottoman power at its centre. But 
Philip II. would not consent; and Don John, doubtless 
under orders from Spain, insisted upon taking his fleet into 
winter quarters. By the next spring the Turks, with 
amazing rapidity, had replaced their armament, and the 
opportunity was lost. The bitterness of Venice foimd 
expression in the words of her captain, Giacomo Foacarini : 
" And so, to have been leagued with allies has wrought the 
greatest injuiy to the Republic And from this we may draw 
the following usefid eoncluaions : in war, promptitude and a 
ready capture of occasions is of the highest importance; 
it is injurious to act in concert with princes so powerful 
that we are obliged to consider their wishes ; we should 
never count on the forces of our allies; the commander- 
in-chief must never be a prince, but some one amenable 
to reward and punishment ; in fine, without a good prospect 
of utterly destroying the enemy it is wiser to preserve 
peace, or if war is inevitable to attack rather than to 
defend." But Venice, though she saw clearly the con- 
sequences of allowing the Turk to recover from the blow 
of Lepanto, and even predicted the probable loss of C'andia, 
had no power to move Spain, which was occupied in the 
Netherlands, or France, which was occupied with the 
Huguenots, to take active measures for the purpose of 
crushing the Turk. Alone she could not hope to be a 
match for the Ottoman power, so vast in resources of men 
and money, that it had, in six months after Lepanto, 
recreated a fleet of 210 sail. And so, in 1573, 
^ the Eepublic concluded a peace. She made it 
with a protest against Spanish treachery on her lips. 
Spain who, in the words of Moroaini, 
2 B 


la miglior parte d' Italia, et vedendo questa sola 
Eepublica, questo sol angolo d' Italia, esser libero, 
e non sentir peso di servitii alcuna, T invidiano, ^ ^ 
invidiando T odiano, odiando T insidiano, et dove non possono 
arrival con le forze, tentano d' arrivare con gl' ingannL . . . 
II fine dunque di Spagnuoli nella lega con Venetian! h di 
far che Venetiani, estenuadi dalle gran spese di lunga 
guerra, necessariamente caschino nel suo ingordissimo 
grembo." Morosini was right; Venice was being slowly 
extenuated by these long and ruinous wars, with the con- 
tinual loss of territory which they implied. And a few 
years later the conspiracy of Bedmar came to convince her 
that she was in grave danger of falling into the insatiable 
maw of Spain. 

The peace of 1573 and the acquisition of Cyprus 
satisfied the Turk for a time. Venice was able to enjoy a 
period of repose, and to forget her losses and her troubles in 
one of those gorgeous displays of pageantry which were so 
dear to her spirit. In 1574 Henry III. arrived in 
Venice, on his way from Poland, to receive the 
crown of France. He was met at Malghera by a splendid 
train of gondolas, draped in silk, in velvet, in cloth of gold 
which trailed upon the water. The young nobles, destined 
for his special service, were dressed in tight-fitting hose and 
slashed jerkins, with their family arms emblazoned on 
their breasts. The King wore purple velvet, in mourning 
for his brother, Charles IX. His gorgeous retinue accom- 
panied him from Malghera first to Murano, where he 
lodged in the palace of Bartolomeo Capello, famous for the 
sumptuous hangings of its chambers, and its pleasant gardens 
on the lagoon. The following day he made his entry into 
Venice by way of the Lido, moving down beliind the 
arsenal. At the Lido he landed, and passed under a 
triumphal arch, designed by Palladio and painted by 
Veronese and Tintoretto. After meeting the Doge and 
hearing mass, the King again took ship, and surrounded by 
the great barks of the various guilds, gorgeously symboHcal 
of the arts and crafts, by the galleys of the Kepublic, and 
the innumerable variety of private boats, from the patrician's 



gondola to the bardie, harchettc, aitd sandoli of the people, 
he swept in procession acrosa the lagoon to the 
landing-place at the Piazzetta. He was lodged at 
the Palazzo Foscari, to which were added the two adjoining 
Palazzi Giustintan. His rooms were newly furnished, and 
adorned with stamped leather aitd silk hangings, seme of 
wtrs-de-lys. In front of the palace, on the water, floated 
a large platform, which served the serenaders at night and 
the actors and eommediaiiti by day. The King witnessed a 
Tegatta, and a fight between the Nicolotti ' and Gastellani 
on the bridge by the Campo S. Bernaba ; he was enter- 
tained at a banquet and a ball in the Sala del Maggior 
'Consifflio. Venice despatched him on hia way home up the 
Srenta by Fiisina to Padua, intoxicated and enchanted by 
the beauty, the charm, the luxury of the sea siren, " the 
revel of the earth, the masque of Italy." But the dark aide 
of the picture was not slow in appearing. In 1575, 1576, 
1577 the plague carried off over 60,000 inhabitants of 
the lagoons. 

The peace of 1573 preserved Venice from open warfare 
(rith the Turk for upwards of seventy years ; though there 
were continual skirmishes between Venetian and Turkish 
bbipping, and the Venetian Bailo at Constantinople was 
occasionally threatened with the Seven Towers. Venice was so 
anxious to maintain pacific relations that she was always ready 
to pay an indemnity for any injury done to Turkish ships or 
ities, as in the year 1623, when she handed to the Stdtan 
150,000 ducats as a solatium for the injury inflicted on Valoua 
rhen hef ships were bombarding Barbary pirates, who had 
nben ahelt«r under the guns of that stronghold. But peace 
ras only maintained at the pleasure of the Sultan. The 
onstant acts of piracy and the distur1)ed state of the sea, 
aaily afforded a pretext to any Ottoman sovereign whose 
DDquering instincts made him desire to declare war on the 
Republic. Such a prince, and such an excuse, arrived 
in the year 1644. The Sultan Ibrahim turned his 
eyes to the List great Venetian possession in the Levant — the 
island of Candia. The excuse for an attack was given by 
the piratical act of the knights of Malta. One of their ships 



had seized and plundered a Turkish ship, with pilgrims on 
board. The Maltese had touched at Candia, and, 
though warned oflf by the Governor, this fact was 
sufficient to allow the Sultan to accuse the Eepublic of 
hostile acts. The scene at Constantinople, as described 
by the Venetian Bailo, Giovanni Soranzo, is extremely 
interesting and instructive. Wlien the Sultan learned that 
the Maltese ship had touched at Candia he ordered bis 
private secretary and his chief of the staff to summon all 
the ambassadors resident at the Porte, and to find out the 
facts of the case. "The chief of the staff began," writes 
Soranzo, " by saying that the Sultan had caused us to be 
summoned with a view to discovering what we knew about 
the affair. The French ambassador was the first to answer; 
he said he only knew what was reported here. I said the 
same; so did the Dutch ambassador. The chief repUed, 
* The Sultan is convinced that one of you knows all about 
it, but will not speak.' We all said we knew nothing, 
neither in general nor in detail The secretary broke in 
with his usual vehemence, and said, ' This is not the time 
for denials, which will only provoke the rage of the Sultan,' 
and with that he made a sign by running his hand round 
his neck, which signified, ' oflf with your head.* At this the 
French dragoman lost his nerve, and I told Grille (the 
Venetian dragoman) to answer, that from his Majesty we 
looked for nothing but the most perfect correctness of 
conduct, and that, as his Excellency was aware, we resided 
under the protection of treaties. The secretary replied that 
in such a case as this the Sultan would not pardon his 
own mother ; that he knew the Maltese had boarded the 
ship, and was resolved to find out what they had done with 
it. The French ambassador replied very coldly, observing 
that Malta was a long way from France ; and he drew a 
rough map to show their relative positions. I said that 
Malta was an independent government; and the Dutch 
ambassador, thinking to use a clinching argument, said that 
the religion of the Maltese was different from that of his 
master's, and that, therefore, there was no communication ; 
whereupon the Beglierbey of Greece closed him with an 



I argument whicb, in the eyes of the Turk, is unanswerable, 

' If their religion is different they must be your 

enemies, and ao you wilt join the Sultan in an attack 

I on Malta.' The Dutch ambassador replied, with more spirit 

I than prudence.asi thought, that if the Sultan would attack the 

I enemies of his country his master would be with the Sultan. 

I ■ Who are your enemies ? ' said the chief. * The Spaniards,' 

P replied the Netherlander. 'Oh, then you must be with us 

I all the same, for the Spaniards protect the Maltese.' I 

I thought this convei'sation was growing even more thorny 

I than the first part, and so I broke in and repeated my 

I remarka While I was talking I saw that the secretary 

I was calling for something in a fury, and Selvago, who was 

I atanding near my chair, whispered that he was asking 

I for a notary. The notary presently entered, sat down 

[between us and the Turkish miiusters, and prepared to 

I write. The secretary then requested each of us to make 

lour report separately. The French ambassador was begin- 

Bning when I pointed out to him that it would never do to 

K)iave our words taken down as evidence. I then told 

V-Orillo to say that as we did not know the language and 

■ could not read Turkish, we would not be bound by anything 

I which the notary might put down. The secretary in a 

I rage declared that here again I wished to cross the Sultan's 

lauthority, and that he know the galley had been taken to 

ICandia. I replied that I was sure the galleys of Malta 

K'had never touched at any place within shot of Venetian 

^cannon. When GriUo began to interpret my answer the 

notary began to write. I therefore drew Grillo back, and 

|rose and said to the French ambassador that I would never 

nibmit to this innovation. The ambassador said, ' But 

what are we to do ? ' I then, through Grillo, told the 

Turkish ministers that if they wished an answer in writing 

[ would furnish it. The French ambassador said the same. 

SThe Beglierbey of Greece, who is a very able man, and 

wnable, here whispered to the secretary, and then said 

proposal would be accepted." And thus the 

interview tertuiuated, to the credit of Venice and the firm- 

B of her ambassador. But no answer on the subject ot 


the Maltese galley would have satisfied the Turk, who \ 
determined to occupy Caudia. By way of a plea — 
any plea would do — the Sultan declared that Candia 
had formed a part of the Empire of the East, and all ' 
belonged to the Empire was his by right of conqnei 
This only meant that war was inevitable. Venice 1 
to provision Candia. She sent military engineers, 
100,000 ducats, 2500 soldiers, and some ships; all I 
she could send, in fact, but none the less a provision qui 
inadequate to the exigencies of the case. 

On the 30th April 1645 the Turkish fleet of 4(K 
sail passed tbrough the Dardanelles and opened a war whi 
was to last for twenty-four years. The Turks 
found no difficulty in landing. The garrisons were 
soon driven into the towns. But then the real resis 
began, and it was no leas heroic than that of Cyprus. 

As in the war of Cyprus, so now the Venetian adm 
Girolamo Morosini, was hampered by orders from home oblj; 
ing him to await the upshot of negotiations for help i 
Spain and Holland, Navagero, wlio, like a second Bragi 
was holding Canea against terrible odds, wrote in despair t 
Morosini : " I aak your Excellency to consider whether i 
have time to wait for help from Holland and from.Sps 
You are strong enough of yourself to thrash this barbario^ 
You have only to take the resolve," This was on the 24 
July, and yet it was not till the 29th November 
Morosini was joined by the confederate fleet, while he lay ■ 
Zante. The allied contingents were very small ones. 
Pope sent five ships, Tuscany five, Naples five, and MaltA % 
During these months the Turk had been training his sief 
works against Canea, The governor of the castle of \ 
Teodoro, one of the outposts of the town, seeing that loDj 
defence was impossible, had blown himself, his garrison, t 
his tower into the air. In Cauea. Navagero still resiste 
hut by 22nd August he was forced to hoist the white f 
though he secured the right to march out with all ( 
honours of war, and to embark for Suda, where Capello b 
a Venetian squadron were lying at anchor. 

Meantime in Venice itself the home Govenunent i 



receiving little if auy support from European powers. 
Money began to run short. Interest had risen 
7 per cent. The Eepuhlic was forced to resort 
to extraneous measures for supplying the means to prosecute 
the war. The office of Procurator of S. Mark, a purely 
honorific title in this case, was offered for sale at 20,000 
ducats, and the Government reluctantly agreed to admit 
new members to the close caste of the patriciate on 
{layment of sums as large as 100,000 ducats, and after 
the names of candidates had heen submitted for approval to 
the MaggioT CoTisifflio. Seventy families, among them the 
Iiabhia, Gozi, Ottobon, and Widiman, were enrolled in this 
way, producing to the State a sum of 7,000,000 ducats, 
which of itself alone would prove the extraordinary elasticity 
and resources of Venetian private wealth. 

Though the Turk had been successful in the first 
ick on Cnndia, yet it soon became evident that he was 
unable to obtain complete mastery of the island. The 
towns — principally Candia, the capital — held out, and the 
^Turkish operations were converted from assault into blockade, 
STiia operation produced a corresponding change in the 
tactics of the Venetians, whose object now was to close 
the Dardanelles, and so deprive the blockading force 
of any support from Constantinople. The scene of action 
was changed from the waters of Candia to the waters of 
ihe Dardanelles, and there Venetian anus were illustrated 
r a series of splendid victories which are associated with 
le names of Luigi Leonardo and Lazzaro Mocenigo. 
ITegotiations for peace were opened in 1648 with 
Ibrahim's successor, Mahomet IV., but no result followed. 
!he long siege operations at Candia continued to call forth 
heroism of the Venetians and the obstinacy of the 
Sitks, while Mocenigo's lleet at the Dardanelles prevented 
le Sultan from sending sufficient forces to complete 
le conquest of the island. The Senate, sitting at home 
I Venice, even proposed to order the fleet into the 
!ft of Marmora, to bombard Constantinople, but the 
)eration was deemed too hazardous. In the last of the 
leat series of battles in those waters, fought in 1657, 


Lazzaro Mocenigo surpassed himself in "doughty deeds." 
He desired to force the passage of the Dardanelles, , 
and, if possible, to reach the capital. But the fire 
from the shore was overpowering. Mocenigo's ship was 
soon in a blaze ; the powder magazine blew up, and the 
commander was killed by the fall of a yard upon his head. 

The death of Mocenigo changed the whole aspect of the 
war. His successor, Lorenzo Renier, was unable to maintain 
discipline, and the Dardanelles ceased to be impassable to the 
Turk. At Venice they even discussed the possibility of a 
peace. But the cession of Candia, on which the Sultan insisted, 
proved an insurmountable obstacle, and war was continued. 

The interest of the war was removed now from the 
Dardanelles back again to the town of Candia, which still 
held out. At this moment the last of the great 
Venetian commanders, Francesco Morosini, appears 
upon the scene. He was appointed to succeed Lazzaro 
Mocenigo as admiral of the fleet. The stubborn resistance 
of Candia had at last roused the attention of Europe, and 
fired the more romantic spirits with a desire to share 
in the glory that was being won. In 1660, 4000 men 
left France for the island. With the impetuosity 
characteristic of their race, they had no sooner 
landed than they attacked the Turkish position. They were 
supported by the Venetians of the garrison, and at first the 
Turks retreated. But in the attempt to gain a hill which 
would have given them a flank attack on the besiegers, their 
ranks fell into disorder in a covered way which they had 
not observed. The Turk returned to the charge, and the 
whole force was driven within the city walls. The French 
succours dissolved as rapidly as they had arrived, and Candia 
was left to its native and Venetian defenders once more. 

The obstinate defence roused a corresponding determina- 
tion in the Turk. He founded new guns, threw up seven 
batteries, lodged his troops in earthworks, and on 28th 
May 1667 began a bombardment of the town. The 
whole of the ground in front of the fortifications 
was honeycombed with mines and counter-mines, 
one passing below the other — the Turk trying to get lower 



than the Venetian, and ince vtr^t — till they sometimes 
reached the enormous depth of Diuety feet below 
the counterscarp. Working in the dark, both parties 
were attentive to the slightest sound which might indicate 
whether the eneqjy were above or below them. The 
constant explosion of these mines ploughed the ground 
into hollows and ravines. From the outworks, the Crown 
'battery Santa Maria, and the )ialf-u3oon Mocenigo, from the 
ravelin Bethlehem, the enemy was prevented by a cross 
fire from approaching the walls. Between May and 
November of this memorable year the Venetians sustained 
32 assaults, made 17 sorties, sprang 61fi mines, and 
lost 3600 men, while the Turkish dead were reckoned 
■ at 20,000. The Republic was dying ; but dying glowously 
liere in the Levant, the earliest, as it was the latest, 
■scene of all her solid triumphs. Europe awoke at length, 
when too late, and appreciated the splendour of this 
«p - flaming of Venetian heroism. More succours 
arrived from France. The Dues de Feuillade, de Chateau 
Thierry, de Caderousae, landed in Candia, only to repeat 
'the hot-headed follies of their predecessors. They insisted 
on an immediate sortie. Morosini opposed them, but at last 
gave way. The French charged with theic usual Aan, and 
carried the first lines. But they were breaking themselves 
'against an impenetrable wall of Mussulman troops. 
Nothing could exceed their braverj', hut it proved of no 
avail. The sortie was a failure, and the French sailed 
*Rway as impatiently as they came. Other help was 
coming from France, from Sweden, from the I'ope, who was 
.finally convinced that Venice could not hold out much longer 
when he learned that the war had cost her 4,300.000 
ducatfi in 1668 alone. But the moment for saving 
Cimdia had passed. The Due de Noailles's French troops 
. the same fate as De Feuillade's, and when they 
ailed away on 21st August 1669, all hope for Candia 
disappeared. Morosini called a council of war, and 
asked for advice. Though there could be but one 
l|)inion, no one cared to he the first to express it. At 
^Dgth it was agreed that Morosini should negotiate 



with the Turk for the surrender of Candia, and he further 
took upon himself, with a wise transgression of ,, 
his authority, to conclude a peace between the 
Eepublic and the Sultan at the same time. He obtained 
honourable terms. The guns, to the number of 328, 
were preserved. The people, the sacred vessels, and the 
ammunition were to be removed on board ship, and 
the roadstead of Suda remained to Venice. Thus, on 
29th September, Candia, and the island of Candia, passed 
away from Venice, after a defence which had lasted twenty- 
five years, and was unmatched for bravery in the annals of 
the Kepublic. The loss to Venice was irreparable, and the 
burden entailed by the war left the State with bankruptcy 
staring her in the face. 

One last encounter, and the Venetians and Turks part 
company for ever. Botli were exhausted ; both in full 
decline. The fortune of this last campaign proved favourable 
to Venice, and she closes her account with Turkey by a 
success wliich she was not slow to blazon on the walls of 
the Sala dello Scrutinio by this inscription to the hero of the 
war — 





In 1685 war broke out on account of threatened 
incursions on the northern frontier of Albania. 
Francesco Morosini was placed in supreme com- 
mand ; and, believing the Turk to be weak, he conceiveJ 
the idea of recovering the Morea for Venice. This 
he achieved without much difficulty in his campaigns 
01 1081) and 1687. In 1688 he bombarded Athens, and 
a Venetian bomb set fire to the Turkish powder magazine 
in the Parthenon, and ruined the temple ; upon which 
^lorosini, contemplating the work of his guns, exclaimal, 
*' AfcnCy o ihilc artl cidfricc, quale sci ora ridotta ! " While 



BfltiU occupied in the Peloponnesus consolidating Venetian 
government, and endeavouring to restore some sem- 
blance of cultivation and prosperity to a country that 
s thinly inhabited and quite untilled, Morosini received 
Jie uew3 that he had been elected Doge in recognition of Ms 
iervicea. The glory of his conquests was some solace to the 
jBepublic, which had suffered so long and so persistently at 
■the hands of the Turk. 

Morosini endeavoured to complete the possession of the 
Worea by reducing the town of Malvasia. But in this he 
Ifeiled. Though, during the progress of the siege, the 
Venetians had the satisfaction of receiving and rejecting 
Offers of peace proposed by the Turk. Morosini returned to 
Venicft But the incompetence of his successor made it 
lecessary for the veteran to take the field once more. In 
[1693 he embarked for Greece, and the ceremony of his 
departure was one of the last of the great solemnities 
celebrated by the Republic. His age, his long 
lervices, the desperate defence of Candia, had worn out 
hforosini's strength. He reached the Morea only to die at 
Ifauplia on 9th January 1694. 

Venice did not long retain her hold upon Morosini's 
inquests. The whole revenue of the Morea was consumed 
1 the management of the province, and its possession was of 
po value to her. She had not the resources nor the energy 
fortify and govern with profit her newly- acquired territory. 
'1716 the Turks were once more in possession of the 
feninsula, and were besieging Corfu, which, however, repulsed 
them successfully. The peace of Passarovitz 
formally deprived the Republic of tlie Morea, and 
1 the history of Venice in the Levant 



Venice and the Church — The aims of the Church after the Council of Trent 
— Attitude of Venice independent from earliest times — The Ferraresc 
war — Succession dues — Council of Constance — Mensa episcojxilis — 
Appointment of Venetian bishops, of Venetian parish priests — Tlie foro 
fxclesiastico — Taxation of Church property — Visitation of monasteries— 
The index expurgatorius — Inquisition — New spirit in the Church — 
Julius II. — The State Erastian — Private Venetians good Churchmen- 
Difficulty of this position — Venice accepts the Council of Trent — Her 
religious toleration — Sir Henry Wotton — Sarpi — Paul V.— Venice 
limits the erection of churches, etc. ; and forbids the alienation of lav 
property in perpetuity — Taxation of clergy — Venice resists Papal claim 
to examine Venetian bisho{>8 in Rome — The arrest and trial of two 
clerics — Spanish party at Rome stirs up the Pope — Venetian replies— 
The Papal briefs — Interdict — Nuncio dismissed — Edict — Protest — 
Literary warfare — Danger of Spanish interference — Compromise — Close 
of the incident — Pope not satisfied — Attacks on Sarpi's life : his illness 
and death. 

The second point upon which Venice still retained a certain 
vitality, after the disasters of Cambray, and the 
settlement of Italy by Charles V., was the question 
of the relations between the Eepublic and the Church. 

While the Republic was still expanding, while she was 
endeavouring to extend her mainland empire and was 
encroaching on Ferrara, Ravenna, Faenza, or Rimini, we 
have already seen how she came into collision with 
Rome, which made claims to superiority in those districts. 
These were territorial aggressions on the part of A'enice 
which were met by the Church with weapons spiritual and 
temporal alike. 

But there w^ere other grounds of contention between 
Venice and the Curia. The Church, especially after the 
Council of Trent, displayed a tendency to encroach upon the 


navil and secular prerogatives of the State. If Venice 
attempted to absorb some of the temporal possessions 
of the Church, the Church on her side invaded the 
domain of secular government, and endeavoured to establish 
ft jurisdiction inside the State but independent of the Slate, 
The cause of Venice was the cause of all secular 
princes ; and, though the Republic was oidy partially 
ilQCcessful in her eucouuter with the Curia, yet she was the 
first European power to fonnulate what she considered the 
true lines of delimitation between secular and ecclesiastical 
authority, while still remaining within the pale of the 
Catholic communion. 

The attitude of Venice towards the Church of Rome 
liad always been singularly independent. This, no doubt, 
Was partly due to her early and long-continued connection 
with the Eastern Empire, For many centuries of her 
iBxistence Venice cannot be considered as a part of Italy in a 
political sense. By the treaty between Charles the Great 
ind Nicephorus, the lagoons were excepted from the 
dominions of the Western Emperor. The Republic never 
quite abandoned that attitude, and S. Mark the Evangelist, 
ron saint of Venice, was held by good Venetians to be 
At least the equal of S. Peter the Apostle. The Venetians 
always professed them.'^elves faithful sons of the Church. 
But they succeeded in keeping their Patriarch in close 
dependence on the Stat€, and comparatively free from the 
ditect iniiuence of Rome. In their reluctance to admit the 
bquisition, and the restrictions which they placed upon 
when admitted, they showed their inherent desire t« 
ige their ecclesiastical matters for themselves. When 
£fae position of Venice in Italy was weakened by the results 
Df the League of Cambray, and by the constant dread of 
Spain, the Venetians were unable to resist the encroaching 
iBiroe of Rome as fully as they desired ; hut they never 
thoroughly abandoned their initial attitude, and in their 
inal struggle with the I'apacy, which we shall now have 
) recount, they won a victory which in appearance at leaat 
s satisfactory. 
We find the first note of this independent attitude struck 


as early as 1308, in the reign of Pietro Gradenigo, while the 
Ferrarese war was raging. The Doge, with a courage 
which must at that time have seemed presumptuous, 
very frankly stated that the Pope had no concern with temporal 
affairs, and made an early use of that important weapon in 
ecclesiastical warfare — the appeal from a Pope misinformed, 
to a Pope better informed. But the Eepublic was forced to 
give way before excommunication and interdict — weapons 
which, in those days, exposed Venetian merchants to 
pillage, and left the Venetian dead unburied by the Church, 
and therefore excluded from heaven. 

In 1351 Venice w£is again in disaccord with Eome 
over the question of succession dues. The great mortality 
of the plague had raised the point in an acute form. 
The Church claimed that, upon death, the deceased's 
property should be valued, and one -tenth devolved to 
the Bishop of Castello. But in many cases, deaths had 
been so numerous in one family that, had this provision 
been enforced, nothing of the family property would have 
remained. The Government, therefore, ordered that no 
succession dues should be paid to the Church unless 
devised by testament, and such payment was to be 
understood as being made with the consent of the Govern- 
ment, not as an ecclesiastical right. Foscari, the Bishop of 
Castello, at once appealed to Avignon, whither he retired 
in person. He summoned the Doge to appear before the 
Rota to defend the action of the Eepublic. But, after Bishop 
Foscari's death in 1376, his successor accepted a compromise, 
whereby the death dues were compounded for 5500 ducats 
annually. The whole of this episode illustrates the usual 
attitude of the Eepublic in similar cases — a strong statement 
of position, vigorously maintained, and concluded by a 

During the Council of Constance, the Eepublic once more 
affirmed its independence by accepting the Conciliar principle, 
and by pledging itself to support the decisions of that body. 
By so doing it obtained possession of an effective weapon in 
the ecclesiastical arsenal — the appeal to a future Council as a 
palliation of present disobedience ; and in the course of the 


kflubsequent struggle with Rome it made frequent use of 


thia a 

le relations between the Republic and the 
Venetian clergy were well defined by the middle of the 
fifteenth century. In 1454 the Patriarch of Grade was 
removed to Venice; and became the spiritual chief of that 
city. Keither the I'atriarch, nor the Bishop of any Venetian 
diocese, might be other than Venetian subjects. The Biahops 
were elected by the clergy and the Senate, through a 
plurality of votes. The name of the nominee was submitted 
to Home for approval, but the State refuged to allow the 
mxrtaa qnscopalis, the temporal fruits, to a successful candidate 
-who had notreceived recognition from the Government. In 
this command of the temporal fruits lay the secular curb 
upon appointments direct from Rome. The parish clergy, 
on the other hand, were chosen by the clergy and the people. 
and approved by the Senate, 

Such was the attitude of Venice towards the Church in 
her dominions ; but it is very doubtful whether the position 
wda ever really accepted at Rome, in spite of various 
jsions, and many thorny questions were still left 
open : the trial of criminous clerics before secular courts ; 
the taxation and alienation of Church property ; the claim of 
Some to examine the goverumental candidates for Venetian 
the right to visit monasteries; the Inquisition in 
heresy ; the examination and prohibition of books ; — all of 
them points upon which the Republic found it necessary to 
defend what she considered the rights of princes as i^ainst 
the rights of the Pope. 

As regards the question of secular jurisdiction over 
clerics ; so long as the Republic and the Church had been 
irms — that was until the Church, under the terror 
■ of the Lutheran heresy, began to extend her claims in the 
'Secular region, and, by the laxity of her morals, became a 
danger to the State — no serious difficulties had arisen. The 
statutes of Jacopo Tiepolo (12li4) placed the jurisdiction in 
'iCBses criminal as well as spiritual in the hands of the bishops ; 
Vbile the execution of sentence belonged to the secnJar 

purelv civil caaaa. 

of ! 



complexion, were tried by the civil courts. By the concordat 
of 1344, injury done by a cleric to a layman was 
reported to the bishop, who tried the case according ^ 
to Venetian law ; injury by a layman to a cleric was reported 
to and judged by the secular authority. Such a provision 
looks like a recognition on the part of the Government that 
clerics were not merely subjects of the State, but that they 
were under another allegiance, and subject to an alien 
jurisdiction. The terms of this concordat, however, produced 
such confusion that the Curia withdrew, in part, from its 
previous position. Paul II. abandoned to the secular arm 
those who had taken the tonsure after the commission of the 
crime, or who had committed the crime in lay habit Sixtus 
IV., in 1474, renounced the trial of those arraigned for 
coining, or treason, or gross immorality, although he wished 
that the patriarchal vicar should be present in court 

Down to the close of the fifteenth century, Venice, while 
maintaining a considerable independence in ecclesiastical 
matters, had not come into serious collision with the 
Curia upon questions of principle, only upon questions* of 
external territorial aggrandisement But at the opening 
of the sixteenth century, a new spirit, a spirit of aggression, 
manifested itself in the Church, under the guidance of such 
fiery tempers as that of Julius II. At the same time the 
weakness of the Eepublic in the political arena — a weakness 
which the League of Cambray brought into full view — 
displayed itself equally in the ecclesiastical region. JuUus 
was the first member of the hostile League to open the attack 
on the Eepublic. He launched an excommunication and 
interdict The grounds alleged were, the territorial usurpation 
of Eimini and Faenza ; the incitement of Bologna to revolt ; 
opposition to papal nomination of Venetian bishops ; taxation 
of ecclesiastical property ; and the claim to try clerics in the 
secular courts. Venice resisted. She forbade the publica- 
tion of the bull, set guards to tear it down, if affixed to the 
walls, appointed doctors in theology to advise upon the 
crisis, and appealed to a future counciL But the battle of 
Agnadello followed on 24th May 1509, eighteen days after 
the publication of the bull, and Venice collapsed. The 


Republic was compelled to submit to the Pope as tlie price of 
detaching him from the League. On 14tli February 
1510, she agreed to abandon her appeal to a future 
council ; to acknowledge the justice of the escommunication ; 
to withdraw her taxation of the clergy ; to renounce her right 
of nominating Venetian bishops ; to surrender clerics to the 
ecclesiastical courts ; and to of!er no asylum for fugitives 
i&om the Papal States. Her extreme danger from the 
Xeague of Cambray compelled the Republic to withdraw from 
:all her positions as against the Curia ; and her secret protest, 
by which she, to herself, declared the concessions void, as 
being wrung from lier by force, might serve her as plea 
for subsequently breaking her word, but could not excuse 
her for doing so. On 24th February the Venetian 
dors in Rome made public submission in the 
atrium of S, Peter's, where the ceremony of scourging was 
omitted, though the humiliation was inflicted by compelling 
the ambassadors to receive twelve white scourging rods 
from the hands of twelve cardinals, 

Venice was thoroughly humbled by Julius, under the 
terror inspired by the League of Cambray. She lost her 
Jierve, and was unable to make any vigorous resistance ; it 
is not till the epoch of Paolo Sarpi that she shows once 
!, and for the last time, the old spirit which had made 
ber 80 frequently and so courageously affront the thunders 
of Rome. 

The new aspect of affairs in Italy rendered it impossible 
ifor Venice to take a very strong line in ecclesiastical poHcy. 
The Republic was in a very difficult position, a position 
which paralysed her. Most of her nobility, and by far the 
larger part of the population, were good Catholics. There is 
lardly any sign that the State ever contemplated seriously 
letaching itself from the body Catholic, and becoming Pro- 
islant Such action would have exposed Venice to attack, 
ind probable absorption by Spain, The Government 
wepted the Council of Trent in 1560; and, in the 
heat of the struggle with Paul V., the Doge was 
kble to exclaim with truth, when accused of Calvinistic 
tjendencies, " Che vuol dire Calvinista ? Siamo Cristiani 


quanto il Papa, e cristiani moriremo, a dispetto di chi non lo 
vorria." At the same time the Republic retained her 
desire for religious toleration — a necessity of her ^^ 
widely diversified commerce — and her intention to maintain 
her ecclesiastical independence as far as possible. The attempt 
to reconcile these two attitudes is the key to Yenetian 
ecclesiastical policy, after the troubles of the League of 
Cambray had passed away. 

The difficulty in which Venice was placed finds illustra- 
tion upon many occasions. The Republic promised immunit}' 
to the merchants and craftsmen from the Grisons who still 
desired to settle in Venetian territory, provided they caused 
no scandal ; and the Church protested. She permitted Sir 
Henry Wotton, England's ambassador, to celebrate Protestant 
service in his private chapel, and to introduce what books he 
chose. And when the Court of Rome remonstrated, the Doge 
replied that " it is impossible for the Republic to search the 
boxes of the English ambassador, when we are absolutely cer- 
tain that he is living most reserved and quietly, causing no 
scandal whatever. We know nothing of these dangerous 
works, and if they had existed we should have heard of them, 
for we do not keep our eyes shut in matters of religion." In 
1565 the Pope complained openly "that these Signori (of 
Venice) are excessively lenient, and have always adopted mea- 
sures far too mQd in this question of heresy." This attitude 
of the Venetians, which was dictated by a desire to encourage 
their commerce, laid them open to the suspicion of being here- 
tics at heart. The Spanish ambassador at Rome was always 
able to point to this lukewarnmess as a sign of perversion, and 
to urge that "these gentlemen govern their dominions by rules 
of statecraft, not by the laws of the Church." The Pope had 
only to threaten sufficiently, and, as in 1564, the Ten are 
obliged to send an order to all the Rectors on ie/rra ferma, that, 
within fifteen days, every heretic is to be expelled from Vene- 
tian territory. No doubt the order was not rigorously en- 
forced; nevertheless Venice, by her attitude as a good Catholic, 
left herself no choice but to 3n[eld, in appearance at least So 
again in 1581, the question as to the visitation of monas- 
teries compelled the Government to make a show of resistance ; 



Qiej secured the removal of the first visitor, who was 
nominated by the Pope, and then gave way on the 
main point, declaring that they did so out of regard 
for the person of the newly-appointed visitor. Once more, 
in 1589, Venice recogniaed Henry IV. as King of Franca 
The Pope, urged on by Spain, remoustrated. It was with 
the greatest difficulty that Venice obtained permission to 
leceive the French ambassador, and only on the understanding 
that he did not appear at any public functions. From what 
further humiliations the Paris Mass of Henry rescued the 
fiepublic, we can only guess. 

Almost the only triumph which the Eepublic obtained 
during this long series of struggles with the Court of Some 
was when she wrung from an unwilling Curia the Concordat 
of 1596, whereby the operation of the Index Expurgatorina 
was neutralised for any Venetian priuters and booksellers who 
'Chose to avail themselves of the clauses in that agreement. But 
9 a matter of fact, the Index remained in active operation ; 
the Concordat was hardly known to the ^'enetians, The 
Index was sown broadcast over the territory of the Republic, 
lod its regulations enforced from the pulpit^ and iu the con- 
ssional ; whereas hardly a hundred copies of the Concordat 
were printed, and of that number, few found their way into 
ihe printiDg- presses and book-shops. Venice could not 
iffectively resist the encroachments of Rome while she was 
: dual attitude towards her antj^onist — an attitude of 
Bpiritual submission and of poHtical defiance. Yet at the 
Opening of the next century, in her last great encounter 
•rith the Curia, she was enabled by the genius of one man, 
Paolo Sarpi, to formulate, and to formulate splendidly, the 
inception of her political attitude towards Kome. It 
B the voice of the Servite monk which speaks throughout 
the struggle ; it is the intellectual grasp and clarity of the 
Ctialian peasant which enunciates the formulas whereby 
Venice siunmed up her official and pubUc, though not her 
individual aud private, conception of the relations between 
Church and State. 

The events which led up to the last conflict ere 
liefly these. In 1605 Camillo Borghese came to the 


papal throne under the title of Paul V. He wa 
by his election that he considered it directly the 
work of heaven, which bad chosen him especially to 
protect the authority of the Church. His first demands 
were that France should accept the Council of Trent, 
and that Spain should exempt the Jesuits from taxation. 
It was not likely that a Pope of this temper would overlook 
any acts of independence on the part of a secular prince 
Yet just at this moment Venice passed two legislative orders 
which Paul considered an infringemeut of ecclesiastical rights. 

In 1C03 the Republic renewed its previous laws 
forbidding the erection of more churches, monasteries, or 
pious foundations in the city, without licence. The reasons 
given were that such buildings already occupied half the 
area of Venice, and were sufficient for all religious need^ 
while the foundation of new estabHshments would t«nd to 
starve the older ones, towards whose maintenance the funds 
of the pious had better be directed. In 1605, the year of 
Boi^hese's election, the Senate by a large majority- — 120 
against 27 — had forbidden the alienation, in perpetuity, of 
lay real property, thereby depri\'ing the Church, a^ s 
corporation, from inheriting under the wills of pious donors. 
This act was probably in reprisals for a bull of Clement 
VIII., Borghese's predecessor, prohibiting the sale or alienation 
to laymen, of any ecclesiastical real property. The Senate 
justified its action on the ground that the piety of the 
Venetians threatened to impoverish the State for the beneBt 
of the Church, that the Republic would soon be unable to 
perform her function of defending Christendom against the 

To complicate matters still further, other causes of friction 
between Rome and Venice had recently risen. The Senate 
had resolved to tax the clergy of Brescia, in common with 
the other citizens, for the restoration of the ramparts ; and a 
protest from Rome led to the expression of one of tie 
earliest of those formtilas enunciated by the Republic in the 
course of this conflict. " If the clergy," said the I><^ to 
the Nuncio, " enjoy protection from the State, let them con- 
tribute to the expenses which are incurred for their securit;,' 

The second cause of disagreement involved the question 
of the papal claim to examine Venetian bishops, at 
Rome, before confirming the nominee of the Senate. 
The Patriarch, Matteo Zane, had died, and the Senate named 
Trancesco Vendramia as his successor, and asked for appro- 
bation from the Vatican. The Pope replied that Vendraniin 
must present himself for examination. The Senate admitted 
that they had consented to such a course in the case of Zane, 
but for that one time only. They now forbade Vendramin 
) leave Venice. 

The situation was becoming more and more strained 
when two events occurred which led to an open rupture. 
The Council of Ten found itself obliged to arrest, and to try 
for monstrous crimes, two clerics, the Canon Saraceni of 
Vicenza and the Abb^ Brandolin of Kervesa. Tlie Ten based 
its action, and rightly, on the bulls of Paul II. and Sixtiis 
rv., unless the Venetian surrender to Julius II. is to be 
eonaidered as a bar, and that can hardly be maintained, for a 
Rabsequent bull of Paul III. gave the secular courts the right 
to try atrocious crimes, aod no one disputed the atrocity of 
ISB in question. 
As yet the relations, though strained, remained friendly. 
The Borghese family were enrolled among the Venetian 
pobility, to the great satisfaction of the Pope, and the embassy 
of congratulation was cordially received at Borne. But in 
I college of cardinals there were not wanting those who 
Hideavoured to fan the smouldering indignation of his 
Holiness into a lively flame of wrath, the Spanish party taking 
The Pope began to make vehement protests to 
tbe Venetian ambassador ; and in sending its pacific answer 
tliTough its representative, the Senate enunciated another 
maxim : " We cannot understand how it is possible to 
pretend that an independent principality like the Republic, 
inch, and as such preserved by the grace of God for 
more than one thousand two hundred years, shoidd not be 
e to take such steps as she may consider necessary for the 
reservation of her State, when those measures do not inter- 
e with or prejudice the government oE other princes," Such 
I answer appears reasonable ; the only difficulty lay in this. 


that neither party would condescend upon a definition of what 
was or what was not to the prejudice of another prince. 
That depended entirely upon what the other prince 
claimed as his rights. And this consideration, the need for 
such a definition before the question could be brought to a 
conclusion, led Sarpi to formulate precisely what he considered 
the boundary line between matters spiritual and matters 
temporal " The dominion of the Church," he said, " marches 
in the paths of heaven ; it cannot, therefore, clash with the 
dominion of princes, which marches on the paths of eartL" 
Could he have obtained subscription to a dichotomy of this 
nature, the quarrel would have been at an end. The Church, 
however, never dreamed of accepting such a renunciation of 
its substantial authority ; the Eepublic shrank from claiming 
such an extension of hers. 

The argument was an infinita quocstio. The Church 
could always say per angusta ad atyusta — ^if heaven was its 
acknowledged kingdom, earth was the portal thereto ; audit is 
surely absurd to prevent the master of the house from show- 
ing the entrance to his invited guests. The acceptance of 
the doctrines of the Church, its claim to a divine origin, its 
possession of the keys, vitiates any attack upon the Church 
The Eoman Curia left no other alternative to those who dis- 
agreed with its dogmas than this, " Stay in and obey, or go 
out and be damned." And Sarpi, for all his splendid common 
sense, the lucidity of his reasoning, the pungency and lim- 
pidity of his expression, could do nothing for Venice, whose 
position of hostility was paralysed from the very outset by her 
acquiescence in the Church's fundamental claim. He, like 
others before and after him, like Contarini, like Valdes or like 
Dollinger, dreamed of another kind of church, a gentle, all- 
embracing, comprehending guide from this world to the neit ; 
but he had never been called upon to construct such a church, 
or he would have found that dogma is of its essence ; if all 
roads lead to heaven, then there is no need of a shepherd, no 
function for a church ; if they do not, then the shepherd must 
point out the way — must drive if need be, that is, must 
dogmatise ; and where the human mind has dogmatised upon 
spiritual matters, it has instantly raised denial, rebellion, 


\ a wider truth — a. fact wMch Sarpi himself was 
about to prove. 

And so the quarrel went on. The Senate in- 
structed its ambassador, Nani, to return a pacific answer to 
the Pope's recriminations, and despatched a special agent, 
Leonardo Donato, to Rome. But while Donato was on his 
way, the Pope had already prepared and despatched two 
briefs ; one on the subject of Church property, the other 
dealing with the cases of Saraceni and Brandolin. The briefs 
tiireatened excommunication if the Kepublic did not annul its 
3 in the one case and restore the two prisoners in the other. 

The Nuncio received the briefs, and, after some hesitation, 
and renewed orders from Rome, they were presented on 
25tli December 1605. The same night the Doge died, 
end the missives were not opened till his successor, Leonardo 
Donato, had been elected. Wtea the briefs came to be 
read, it was found that, by some oversight, two copies of 
one aud the same brief had been sent. 

On grasping the nature of this first brief the Republic 
began to prepare for resistance. Paolo Sarpi, a Servite 
monk, was appointed official adviser to the Government, and 
linformation of the papal threats was sent to foreign powers. 
In their reply to his Holiness, which was still apologetic in 
tone, the Senate declares that " princes, by divine law which 
no human power can abrogate, have authority to legislate 
on matters temporal within their jurisdictions; there is no 
occasion for the admonitions administered by your Holiness, 
:for the matters under discussion are not spiritual but 
temporal." So Venice said. The Pope thought otherwise. 

On 25th February the second brief, the one which had 
l>een omitted from the first despatch, arrived. The Senate 
leplied that they could not consign the two ecclesiastics 
vithout forgoing pri\'ileges which the State already possessed. 
'This answer, aud the constant suggestions of the Spanish 
^mty, finally drove the Pope to take extreme measures. In 
the consistory of 1 6th April he announced that he would 
mbUsh the excommunication and interdict against Venice, 
^unless the Republic made submission within twenty -four days. 
Venice had no intention of yielding, and the bull was issued. 


When the news reached the lagoons the GoTemment 
took vigorous steps. The patriarchal Vicar was 
ordered to continue in his functions. The parish 
priests were required not to receive any copy of the bull, 
and to discharge their divine ofiices as though no bull had 
heeu issued. It is said that an incumbent who declined 
to say mass, woke to find a gibbet in front of his church 
door one morning, and took the hint. In Padua a priest, 
wheu asked to swear that he would not receive the 
bull, replied that he would act as the Holy Ghost inspired, 
whereupon the governor informed him that tlje Holy 
Ghost had already inspiied the Council of Ten to bang 
any one who disobeyed its orders. The Doge dismissed 
the Nuncio in a very vigorous speech which contained these 
words : " Mousignore ! you must know that we are, every 
one of us, resolute and ardent to the last degree, not 
merely the Government but the whole nobility and the 
population of our State, Your excommunication we make 
light of and hold it as nought. Now just see where this 
resolution would lead to if our example were followed by 

After the Nuncio was dismissed the Government pro- 
mulgated an edict to their whole dominion declaring the 
papal briefs to be null and void, and requiring all ecclesiastics 
to continue their functions. The Jesuits refused, and 
were expelled, followed by the Theatins and Capucliins. 
There was no doubt about the vigoiu- and eamestnee 
of the Kepuhlie. The controversy between Venice and 
Rome began to take wing over Europe, owing to the 
literary warfare wliieh now burst out. The powers 
sympathised with Venice as protagonist of their own 
struggles against curial encroachments. Holland offered 
support ; England proposed a league ; France promised to 
mediate. But there was a danger menacing Venice, tfl 
which s!ie was not blind. It was quite possible that 
the Pope would call in temporal weapons to subdue the 
Republic, and the arms he was sure to use were those of 
Spain. Fuentes was arming, and threatening iu Kilan. 
Venice had made her formal protest on behalf of temporal 


princes with great vigour ; but she remembered that she 
had fought the Turka on behalf of herself and Europe 
with no lesa courage and self-denial ; and she did 
not forget how little support she had received. In the 
present case the only material assistance she cotild look for 
■was from Protestant powers, and she shrank Irom allying 
herself wholly with them. The mediation of France seemed 
more acceptable. 

Accordingly the French ambassador, Dii Fresne Caiiaye, 
1 and the Cardinal de Joyense charged themselves with the 
delicate negotiations. Venice insisted, as a preliminary to 
any treatment of the points in dispute, that the Pope 
should unreservedly withdraw the excommunication and the 
interdict The French negotiators knew that Paul would 
accede to this demand. They finally induced Venice 
to give way so far as to say that, if France chose to beg his 
Holiness to withdraw his censures, the Republic would allow 
her name to be attached to the petition ; and she further 
promised that when the censures v»ere removed, she would 
consign the two prisoners to the French ambassador out of 
.consideration for his Majesty, but without derogating from 
her right to try them for their crimes. When the censures 
■were raised the edict would be withdrawn, not before. With 
these terms Joyeuse went to Rome, and after much difficulty, 
the Pope, who wished to insist on the return of the Jesuits, 
gave way, and eveiything was ready for an accommodation. 
The various steps in the ceremony of reconcihation were 
carried out with the utmost punctiliousness on the part of 
'Venice. The terms of the proclamation withdrawing the 
iedict were carefuUy considered, so as to allow no word 
to escape wliich might imply that Venice admitted an 
error. The surrender of the two prisoners then took 
^ace in the following manner, as described by the 
lecretary who conducted the proceedings. " This morning 
, Maria Ottobon, most humble secretary and servant of 
■our Serenity, came to the palace, and presented the following 
report of what took place yesterday evening. The two 
prisoners were placed in two gondolas ; each with an officer 
md three men of the guard. The two gondolas were 


followed by three others, containing four men each. T, with 
two young men from the Chancellery, went to the ^ , 
palace of the Cardinal, and waited the prisoners there. 
When they had arrived, I went up stairs alone, and entered a 
room where I found the Cardinal and the ambassador of France, 
and, after arranging the method of procedure, the Cardinal 
withdrew into the long gallery, while I called up the young 
men from the Chancellery and the prisoners in custody of 
the officers. I then said, 'Monsignore, his Serenity has 
ordered me to consign to your lordship the Abbe Brandolin 
and the Canon Saraceni ; this he does to please his most 
Christian Majesty, and without abrogating his right to try 
ecclesiastics.' The ambassador replied, 'And so I receive 
them.' After this we sdl advanced towards the Cardinal, 
and M. du Fresne said, ' Monsignore, here are the prisoners 
to be given to the Pope.' The Cardinal turned round and said 
to a certain priest, * Take them ' ; which he did. They then 
begged that I would reconsign the prisoners to the guard, to 
be held at their disposal And with that we all left." 

Joyeuse then presented himself to the College, where he 
announced that " all the censures are raised " ; whereupon 
the Doge handed to him the proclamation withdrawing the 
edict. An ambassador was despatched to Eome, where he 
was received with honour, and so the celebrated episode of 
the interdict came to an end. 

The moral victory remained with Venice. She did not 
recall her laws as to taxation of the clergy and the foundation 
of new churches and monasteries. She had rigorously 
formulated her position, and had won the sympathy of 
Europe ; and, though she had been forced to surrender her 
prisoners in fact, she had saved appearances by her manner 
of doing so, and had placed on record a claim to try ecclesi- 
astics, which, if not admitted at the moment by the curial 
party, was not denied. 

The extent of the victory may perhaps best be measured 
by the antagonism which was stirred at Rome. The struggle, 
in its later phases, seems to have reduced itself to a question 
as to the disposition of the two criminal clerics, Brandolin 
and Saraceni. The other questions, which after all touched a 


profoander stratum of ecclesiastical iiolicy, were left on one 
side for the moment in the ali-ahsorbing considera- 
tion of how to diapose of the Abbd and the Canon. 
But the Pope soon began to show his dissatisfaction with 
the arrangement, if it was to be considered final. He .raised 
once more the questions of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in 
Ceneda; of the papal claim to examine bishops; of the 
return of the Jesuits ; above all, he desired to punish 
those hardy theologians who had dared to support Venice 
in hei successful resistance to curial encroachments. 

The hero of the whole episode, Fra Paolo Sarpi, continued 
to live quietly in his convent of the Servites at S. Fosca. 
The Government received warning from Pome that danger 
was threatening. In its turn it cautioned Fra Paolo. But 
he paid little or no heed For a man who had so completely 
renounced the world, who had so thoroughly achieved the 
gran rifiuto, death, whenever it might come, had few terrors, 
as he himself abundantly proved. On the 25th October 
1607, towards five o'clock in the evening, as he was return- 
ing to his convent accompanied only by his body servant, 
Fra Marino, and the old nobleman, Alessandro Malipiero, he 
was assailed by three assassins. They inflicted wounds in three 
places, twice in the neck, while the third, and most serious 
wound, left the dagger fixed in the right cheek-bone. Sarpi 
fell to the ground unconscious. The assassins, after firing 
their guns to frighten any passers-by, fled towards the 
^bndamente nwyee, where they took boat and escaped, landing 
at Ravenna, and so making their way into the Papal States 
in which they found not only shelter but a welcome. 

Sarpi's life was saved by the assiduous care of his 
physicians. He himself showed his belief that the blow 
had been launched from Rome, when, punning on the 
sharpness of the stiletto, he said, " I recognise the Roman 
style." Other attempts to destroy Sarpi's life are reported ; 
the very inmates of his own cloister could not be trusted. 
There were rumours of a plot to kidnap him and to convey 
him to Rome. One of Iiis colleagues, Fra Fulgenzio 
Manh-edi, the Franciscan who had ventured to surrender 

iself to the Vatican, was well received at first, but ended 


hi3 life, after a useless humiliatioii and recoDtation > 
Campo dei Fiori, banged first and then bnmed, Sarpi 
remained in Venice, carefully watched over by the 
Government, whose faithful and able adviser he continaed to 
be. They offered him a guard for his security, and a house 
on the piazza ; but such precautions annoyed him. He would 
only accept the construction of a covered way and a separate 
door, which allowed him to reach bis gondola, and so to 
attend at the palace without passing througli the streets. 

He lived for many years, occupied with his studies and 
the continual resolution of questions wliich the Executire 
submitted to his judgment. On Easter Eve, 1622, while 
engaged in tlie archives, he was seized with a violent 
shivering fit. It was the beginning of the end, though his 
constitution resisted for another year. On Epiphany of 
1623 he was called to the palace, and, though very ill, he 
determined to obey. Wbeu be returned to bis convent 
he knew himself stricken for death. On 14th Januaij he 
took to his bed. When the brothers gathered in tears about 
his couch he said, " I have many a time heartened you up, 
it ia your turn now to heajten rae." His faithful, inseparable 
friend and biographer. Era Fulgenzio, was summoned to the 
College. " How is he ! " they said. " At the last," rephed 
Fulgenzio. " And his intellect ? " — " Quite clear," Then 
with an incredible ruthlessness, which was also a supreme 
recognition of what they were about to lose, they proposed 
three questions to the dying statesman. Sarpi dictated his 
answers, which were read in the Senate and acted upon. 
He was rapidly growing worse as night came on ; still he 
was able to say with a smile, " Praised be God ; what is Hia 
pleasure pleases me; and with His help we wUl tlirougii 
with this last act becomingly." Later on he said, " Well, let 
us go whither God calls us." Then, falling into a dehriuiu, 
they heard him murmur, " I must to S. Mark's. It is late. 
There is much to do." About one o'clock in the morning 
he turned to his friend Fulgenzio, embraced and kissed him, 
saying, " Do not stay here to see me in this state. It is not 
right. Go you to bed ; and I will return to God whence I 
came." The end was now at hand. Sarpi made one last 


effort ; crossed bis arms on his breast ; bis bead fell back, 
and be died. EbIo perpetua, "May sbe perdure," 
were tbe last words on bis lips — a prayer wbicb bis 
audience took as on bebalf of bis beloved Bepublic. His own 
temper, sane, clear, incisive, bis own personality, sad, gentle, 
aloof, bave outlived tbe State be served so welL Witb 
Paolo Sarpi expired tbe vigorous intellect, tbe calm courage, 
of tbe better Venetian spirit. 


The development of the Council of Ten : its place in the Constitution — ^The 
Zonta : its importance — Functions — Safety of the State — Purity of monls 
— Illegal action of the Ten in the case of Foscari — Definition of the field 
of the Ten — Seeretisnme — Delegation of powers — JSaeciUori contra la 
Bestemmia — Tre InquisUori di SkUo — Reasons assigned for creating the 
Three — Nature of the Three — ^The Maggior Consiglio and the Ten dash 
— ^The case of Da Lezze, and of the hravi — The Zonia disappears— The 
position of Venice as judged hy the Inquisitor Donk — ^The Spanish con- 
spiracy — The case of Giambattista Bragadin, and of Antonio Foticarini— 
Growing dislike of the Ten, fed by the growing poverty of a large part 
of the nobility, who withdraw from commerce, and are mined by 
extravagance, and therefore become unfit to fill the office of Councillor 
of the Ten — ^The economic condition of Venice — Renier Zeno : hi> 
attempted reforms — ^Tbe action of the Ten brings on a commission to 
examine their rights — Real victory of the Ten — ^The second attack— The 
new condition — French philosophical ideas — Angelo Querini — Giorgio 
Pisani — ^The Doge Paolo Renier. 

The third point upon which Venice continued to display 
a vital activity after the middle of the sixteenth 
century was in the development of her constitu- 
tion, by the growth of its most potent member, the Council 
of Ten. 

The great stability of the Venetian political machineiy, 
which impressed Europe with a sense of power in the 
Republic, and contained the secret of that long persistence 
of her osseous structure after real vitality had left the State, 
was due in a large degree to the vigilance with which the Ten 
watched over the interests of the city which they governed. 
It will be remembered that the Council of Ten was estab- 
lished in 1310 after the conspiracy of Tiepolo. In its origin 
it was a temporary institution, a committee of public safety, 


designed to meet a single crisis, and not intended to be a 
permanent member of the Venetian constitution. It 
was extraneous to the general lines of that constitu- 
tion which started from its basis in the Great Council and 
passed upward through the Senate, the College, the Ducal 
Council, to the Doge. But the size of the Great CouncO, and of 
the Senate, while excellent for legislative purposes, rendered 
,their movements cumbersome and slow, ill adapted to meet 
■ndden emergencies, and incapable of preserving secrecy on 
ftffairs of State. The Venetians, therefore, first provisionally, 
uid then permanently, retained the Council of Ten a3 an 
alternative branch to the Senate, with whicli it was on a 
level in the constitutional pyramid, though outside the 
lines of that pyramid. It was in the competence of the 
College to send affairs to be dealt with either by the Senate 
or by the Ten. The Senate retained the ordinary man- 
agement of the State, finance, the army and navy, 
diplomacy ; but all extraordinary and urgent business waa 
confided to the care of the Ten, in accordance with the 
vide definition of its field of action as, the safety of the 
State and the preservation of morals. The Ten were com- 
petent to cite any case before their tribunal ; to make 
special and secret expenditure ; to give private instructiona 
to ambassadors ; in short, that Council became the real 
master of Venice. 

There was another reason which accounts for the pre- 
ponderating position of the Ten in the Venetian constitu- 
tion. In the days of its earliest establishment, either through 
diffidence of its own anomalous position in the State, or 
through dread of private vendetta, the Council, when dealing 
trith a serious case, had been accustomed to ask the Senate 

o strengthen its hands by an addition, or Giunta, of Senators, 
elected for that special occasion. This Oiunta, or Zonta, 
icame a permanent institution in 1529. Seats were given 
the most prominent members of each of the other 
Councils of State. Thus the Ten became, as it were, the 
quintessence of the deliberative and executive authorities in 

Venice. Its action if impugned was sure to be defended by 
1 most weighty members in each council, members of the 


ZorUa, who naturally supported the conduct of that most 
powerful body to which they belonged. 

The constitutional history of Venice during the ^^°' 
last two centuries and a half of her existence, is the history 
of a slow but growing reaction against the overweening 
authority of the Ten. 

The power of the Ten rested in the first instance upon 
the declaration that its functions were to provide for the 
safety of the State and to preserve the purity of morals — a 
field so wide that it included almost every action of which 
a citizen was capable. But, as time went on, the rapid 
growth of the decemviral authority, and the perpetual inter- 
ference in all matters of importance, rendered a definition of 
those terms absolutely necessary. The first outbreak of 
resentment against the Ten was brought about by the 
illegal action of that body in the case of Foscari's deposition. 
As we have seen, this Council ordered the Doge to abdicate ; 
but, by the constitution, the Doge was forbidden to take 
such a step except upon a vote of the Great Council and 
the advice of the Consiglieri Duccdi, The Great Council 
resented this infringement of their rights, and the authority 
of the Ten was declared to be limited to those matters 
which might be submitted to them as secretissime^ or most 
delicate (1468). But the term "most delicate" was still 
wide enough to cover all important affairs of State, and the 
practical efficiency of the Ten was so great that the refonii 
of 1468 did little to diminish the power of that Council. 
It is the Ten who conduct the war of Ferrara in 1483, and 
the dangerous complications of the League of Cambray were 
dealt with by them. 

The terror which that league inspired, the haunting 
dread of being absorbed by Spain, the necessity under which 
Venice found herself of devoting her whole energies to her 
own preservation, all helped to strengthen the hands of the 
most powerful body in the constitution. And this period 
of concentration is marked by a new departure in the 
Council of Ten. It began to delegate its powers to sub- 
committees, directly dependent upon and responsible to 
itself, and therefore one step farther removed from responsible 


I touch witli the constituency of Venice, the Great Council, and 
the legislature of Venice, the Senate. In the region 
' ' of public morals the Ten created the EsKutvri contra 
aBeatemmia (1537) — a committee which took cognisance of 
ivery kind of vice, and attempted to check corruption by a 
Brrorising penal code ; and in the region of public safety 
die Ten created the Three Inquisitors of State, to deal more 
iently with treason, which the gold and the intrigues 
Jpaiu led them to suspect ui every Venetian subject 

When the proposal to create tlie Three Inquisitors was 

f Srst submitted to the Council of Ten, the reason given for 

that step was solely the impossibility of proceeding with 

sufficient secrecy and despatch in so large a body as the 

Ten. That is to say, the same cause which led to the 

Lcreation, the permanent establishment, and the power of 

mtiie Ten, led now to the creation of the Three. The sale of 

ate secrets, us was proved by the case of Abondio already 

scorded, had become a regular and lucrative trade, and 

Iseither the secretaries of the Ten nor of the Senate could be 

isted. The Venetian ambassador writes from Spain declar- 

; that the contents of all his despatches are communi- 

I to the Spanish resident in Venice, and adds that it is 

tot possible gwernare stato dove nianea la secretezza. The 

Venetians felt that constant vigilance and severe examples 

^re necessary if diplomacy, which after Cambray they con- 

iddered as their only weapon of defence, was not to be 

jndered absolutely futile. They accordingly created the 

J Inquisitors for that special purpose. The Three were 

Kl) elected for one year; (2) were re-eligible; (3) had 

(Ower to try and to condemn, but were obliged to publish tlie 

pentence in the Great Council; (4) were invested with the 

me authority as that possessed by the Ten ; (5) when the 

ree were not imanimous they were obliged to submit the 

kse to the Tea The Inquisitors were distinctly a com- 

pittee of the Ten, acting only through a delegation of the 

towers of the Ten. But clause 4, which invested them 

rith the same authority as that of the Ten, gave them the 

ight of inquisition into the morals of Venetian subjects, and 



their action in this respect soon rendered them hateful to a 
nobility which, for various reasons, was growing both 
impoverished and corrupt. '^S^- 

This antipathy found expression in 1582, when the fiist 
really serious diflference between the constituency of Venice, 
the Great Council, and the Council of Ten was brought 
about by two events of small moment in themselves, but 
sufficient to set on foot that hostility between the Maggior 
Consifflio and ^the Ten which lasted till the fall of the 
Republic. The Great Council refused to elect Andrea da 
Lezze as a member of the Zonta, and the Ten, who desired 
his presence in return for his money, secured their object by 
illegsdly increasing the number of Procurators who sat in 
the Zonta ex officio, and nominating Da Lezze to the post 
The Great Council, however, refused ratification, and carried 
its point. The second event brought the Ten into collision 
with the riotous element in the Venetian nobility. A party 
of young patricians went to the lido accompanied by their 
hravi ; they fell in with a party of bravi alone ; they in- 
sulted a woman of that company, and were thoroughly 
thrashed by the independent bravi, who then, that same 
day, reported the affair to the Ten. The nobles appealed to 
the same tribunal the following day, and were told that 
they had got what they deserved. This g^uarrel brought 
out the relative strength of the parties in the Maggior 
Consiglio. At the next election of the Zonta, the full com- 
plement of fifteen was not chosen ; and this act was under- 
stood to mark disapproval of the conduct of the Ten, 
and led to an effort to revive the law of 1468, and to 
define the word secretissime, without, however, arriving at 
any positive conclusion. The upshot of the whole episode 
was that the Zonta disappeared for the present, and Venice 
was warned that a serious split existed between the mass 
of the nobility and Government 

But the inherent efficiency of the Ten, and its delega- 
tion, the Three Inquisitors, rendered it impossible that they 
should not retain the real authority in the State. The 
more serious the difficulties and dangers which threatened the 
Bepublic, the more certain the continuance of their power. 



At the opening of the seventeenth century Venice was 
mbroiled in a furious quarrel with Paul V., and fully 
convinced that the Pope would uee the arms of Spain 
to reduce the Republic to obedience, if he were able. Though 
to the eyes of Europe, and probably to the eyes of most 
Venetians, the city appeared to be in enjoyment of undoubted 
Kcurity, and had little else to occupy it than a consideration 
ai its pleasures, yet to the governing body the situation wore 
I very different aspect How it struck a contemporary 
tufficiently informed on the subject, we may gather from the 
following memoranda, jotted down by the Inquisitor Don^ in 
his own copy of the regulations for the Three Inquisitors of 
State. The date is 1612, "Right piteous is our condition. 
Alone we cannot resist ; aUiea we have not, neither ready 
enough nor warm enough. Treaties we cannot construct 
opon any terms which are not ruinous to us. 

" Condemned : for frequenting tlie Spanish ambassador's 
boase, and for betting there on elections to the Great 
Conncil, Alviae Battagia, ten years in prison. 

" Alvise Oabriele, for betting in the ambassador's houae, 
^uee years in a lighted prison ; and very cheap he got off. 

"The Bishop of Laconia expelled from the city for 
luspicious relations with ambassadors. 

" Domenico Moro, for suspicious dealings in the house 
f the Spanish ambassador. 

" The Spanish ambassador has his house full of bravi 
Ad assassins, and keeps a bank to receive beta on elections 
I the Great Council One of these bandits declares that 
ie ambassador intends to blow up the Great Council, and 
ibat he has stored in hia houae barrels of powder, which he 
retends are full of figs and oil" 

And this dread of Spanish plots, of Spanish gold, of 

Spanish treachery, received confirmation a few years later 

irhen the famous Spanish conspiracy was brought to light. 

"Tie Duke of Ossuna, Viceroy of Naples, and Alfonso della 

Queva, Marquis of Bedmar, Spanish Ambassador in Venice. 

ere supposed to be at the bottom of the plot The 

amediate agents were found among that loose stratum of 

ffiiety, bravi, soldiers of fortune, broken men, who were 


said to haunt the Spanish ambassador's houses; ready! 
turn their hand to any deed of violence, and loviug 
bragadoccio, mysterj", assassination, for their own 
sake, for the excitement and piquancy which they gave to 
life. The chief of these agents was a certain Giacomo Piene. 
a Frenchman. It was he who stirred the fantasy of Ossuna 
to contemplate the sudden seizure of Venice by means of 
boats, which were to enter the lagoon at Malamocco and 
steal up to the Piazzetta under cover of night At tie 
same time, however, Pierre had opened secret relations 
with the Venetian Resident at Naples, Spinelli, from whom 
be demanded employment at Venice, in return for the reve- 
lation of secrets vitally important to the Eepublic Pierre 
had in his company two other Frenchmen, Regnault, who 
acted as his secretary, and Langlade, who professed to be 
an artificer in Greek fire. Spinelli determined to send all 
three to Venice, though Contarini, the ambassador in Borne, 
did not fail to inform his Government of the doubtfttl 
character enjoyed by the newcomers. 

When the three reached Venice the Government was in 
doubt bow to treat them. They were left alone, unem- 
ployed, but watched. Finally, on further representations 
from Spinelli, who was alarmed at some hint« of assassina- 
tion conveyed by Pierre in a letter, Pierre and Langlade 
were received into Venetian employment. Pierre began, on 
the one hand, to win the confidence of the Government by 
constantly giving information as to Ossuna's designs against 
Venice, hia intention to attack the city with the Nea- 
politan fleet ; on the other, to attempt the fidelity of the 
mercenary troops in pay of the Republic, and to lay the 
basis of a plot inside Venice itself. Ossuna's fleet was 
really in the Adriatic, but it never came near Venice ; it 
suffered severely in a stonn off Manfredonia, and Pierre's 
operations, which were to take place in concert with the 
fleet, were delayed. Meantime the Ten had received 
anonymous warning to beware of the Frenchmen, and they 
gave orders that Pierre and Langlade should both embark 
on board the fleet ; but Pierre was able to avoid these 
orders for a while. Meantime a young Frenchman, Balthazar 


Juven, nephew of the Marshal Lead iguii; res, had arrived in 
Venice. He made friends with a member of Pierre's 
conspiracy, a certain Moncaaain, wlio endeavoured to 
persuade him to take part in the plot. Juven pretended to 
He revealed everything, however, to the Doge ; and 
Moncassin, aeeing his own danger, turned informer in full 
The matter was, of course, entrusted to the Ten, who, after 
convincing themselves of the trutli of the denunciation, 
arrested Regnault and the brothers Bouleaux. These three 
were strangled and hung by one leg to the gibbets between the 
columns. Pierre and a certain Uossetti, who were with the 
fleet, were executed by the Admiral, and Langlade, who had 
escaped to Dalmatia, was pursued, but we do not know 
whether he was caught or not. The serious extent of the 
^conspiracy, the number of bravi and vagabonds who had 
been induced to join Pierre, was proved by the sudden way 
in which the inns and lodging-houses were emptied at the 
light of the three bodies hanging between the colunina of 
the Piazzetta. 

The Spanish conspiracy came to nothing, But that 
Spanish gold was corrupting the impoverished Venetian aris- 
iocracy became evident soon afterwards (1620) in the case 
of Giambattista Bragadin. He had secured his election to 
the Senate, along with many otliers, by a fraudulent use of 
iballot balls. He turned his position as senator to account 
by selling to the Spanish ambassador, Bedmar's successor, 
information of what took place in the Council Chamber. His 
method was to use a particular faldstool for his devotions at 
the Fran, In a crack in this faldstool he left his informa- 
tions in writing. A secretary from the embassy used the 
aame place of worship, and withdrew the informations as 
s found them. The treason was discovered by a monk of 
^e order, whose curiosity was aroused by such frequent and 
nvent devotions. In the interval between the departure 
f one worshipper and the punctual arrival of the next, he 
wtracted the treacherous correspondence, and consigned it 
> the Doge. Bragadin was hung between the two columns 
the Piazzetta, and the Spanish ambassador found it 
zpedient to retire from Venice. 


There can be no doubt that treason was rife in Venice, 
that the danger from Spain was real and pressing, and 
that all the vigilance of the Ten barely sufficed to 
counteract the vicious tendency and the danger. But within 
this obscure region of bribes, of plots, of treachery, of sudden 
executions, a case was about to arise which was destined to 
deal a severe blow at the reputation of the Ten, and to give 
a ground for attack to its growing number of enemies inside 
the State. Antonio Foscarini, after serving in various posts 
of trust, received the appointment of ambassador to the 
Court of S. James in 1609. When he had been at his 
post for a short time, it was discovered that the contents 
of his despatches were being communicated to the repre- 
sentatives of other powers in England. Suspicion fell on 
Foscarini's secretary, Scaramelli, who was dismissed, and his 
place supplied by Giulio Muscomo. At first Muscomo 
and his chief were on satisfactory terms, but after a whUe 
serious disagreements arose. Muscomo was a young man of 
pleasant manners and various accomplishments ; he became 
very popiilar with the Queen and her ladies ; he spoke soft 
Venetian, which they liked ; he could play the guitar ; and 
he could mimic his master. His head was soon turned, and 
he began to neglect his duties. He applied to Foscarini for 
a letter of recommendation to some person of importance, 
which the ambassador refused. Muscomo vowed that he 
would be revenged, and said so openly. Foscarini's own 
conduct was not above reproach on the score of extravagance 
in outward show, of freedom of conversation, and of ostenta- 
tious indiflFerence to religion. His angry secretary published 
a volume entitled Sayings and doings of the Ambassador 
Foscarini, Muscomo was implicated with the Archbishop 

of Canterbury and a Sir Smith, who had advanced him 

money. The scandal became vociferous. Muscomo asked 
leave to return to Venice ; and when he arrived there he 
denounced Foscarini as having himself sold the copies of his 
own despatches, and as being an imworthy representative of 
the Eepublic ; given over to irreligion and loose living ; one 
who allowed himself to speak of the Queen as " a woman of 
the town." It was all mere calumny ; but the idea that State 



secrets might have beeu sold was enough to put the Venetiau 
Government in a tremor. Foscarini was recalled, and 
both he and his accuser were tried before the Inqui- 
sitors. After a long period of uncertainty, and the most 
careful collection of evidence from London and other Courts. 
Foscarini was acquitted, in 1618, and Muscomo condemned 
to two years' imprisonment in the fortress of Palma, 

So far the ends of justice seem to have been met, 
except that Muscomo's punishment was inadequate. But 
the suspicion of treason, once created, could not be allayed. 
Foscarini, though acquitted, remained under observation, 
and his own conduct led to his ultimate ruin. In England 
he had made the acquaintance of a Lady Arundel of 
Wardonr. That lady was now resident in Venice for the 
education of her children, she said, row -modi c costumi 
iialiani. Foscarini renewed his intimacy, and at Lady 
Arundel's liouae lie met the Tuscan minister, and the secre- 
taries of the Imperial and the Spanish ambassadors. This 
feet was sufficient to furnish the grounds for a second attack 
on the unfortunate diplomatist Whether Muscomo was at 
the bottom of this renewed persecution or not is uncertain. 
The information against Foscarini was laid by a professional 
spy, Girolamo Vano. Foscarini found himself arrested and 
accused of selling State secrets. His trial was entrusted to the 
Three Inquisitors. On the 20th April 1622 the Inquisitors 
reported to the Ten, who condemned the accused, as a traitor, 
to be strangled in prison that same night, and to be hung 
by one leg in the Piazzetta the following morning. Foscarini 
met his death with fortitude, after calmly dictating his will 
!to the chief jailor and an assistant. 

But the spectacle of the strangled corpse not only 
terrified, it angered the nobility. This feeling of rage 
■gainst the power of the Ten, and its delegation the Three, 
increased and justified when, within four months of 
^OBcarini's execution, it was discovered that he had suffered 
nnjustly. The infamous informer, Girolamo Vano, was in 
his turn strangled ; and the Council did all that lay 
their power to make amends. By an order, which 
M printed, published to the whole city, and sent to 


all foreign courts, they declared their fatal error; they 

exhumed, and reburied with all pomp, the body of 

the murdered senator ; but such a flood of lurid light 

had been let in upon the dark places of the Ten, and such 

suspicion of their procedure was aroused, that they never 

recovered their prestige. They had given a handle to their 

enemies, and these were not slow to take advantage of it 

The cases of the Spanish conspiracy, of Bragadin, and of 
Foscarini displayed a corrupt state of society in Venice with 
which the Ten endeavoured to deal vigorously in the 
interests of the State. But the exercise of their power, 
showing itself as the only real efiBcient power in the State, 
roused the jealousy of the other branches of the constita- 
tional structure, the Maggior Consiglio and the Senata This 
jealousy now drew support from a radical transformation 
which had been slowly taking place inside the constituent 
body of the Venetian oligarchy, the noble caste. The long 
conflict on the mainland of Italy in the fifteenth century, Uie 
continual drain of war with the Turks, the immense and 
unprofitable expenditure entailed by the League of Cambray , 
had all contributed to exhaust not only the public treasury 
but private resources as well. The blow which Venetian 
commerce received through the opening of the Cape route, 
and by the altered conditions of the Levant after the 
capture of Constantinople, had caused Venetian merchants 
to withdraw their capital from trade, and to invest 
it in banking, or in large landed possessions on Urra 
ferma. In 1610 Leonardo Don^, addressing the Senate on 
the economic conditions of the Republic, declared that 
" commerce now lacks capital The nobility takes no more 
part in trade ; all its resources are tied up in funds or in 
real property, and expended either on house property or on 
amusements in the city." The patriciate had withdrawn 
from commerce; at the same time luxury was on the 
increase, as is shown by the repetition of useless simiptuar}' 
laws. One noble house vied with another in the splendour 
of its display; it became derogatory for a patrician to 
engage in the acquisition of wealth. The greater houses were 
able to support this tax on their resources. But a large 


oE the leas aubstautial uobility was utterly im- 
, poverisbed. Id the interests of the dignity of the 
State it was considered desirable that the liighest 
offices, such as those of Inquisitor or member of the Ten, 
should not be filled by any who were unable to maintain a 
fitting train of life, or who, owing to their impecuniosity, 
were open to bribes. And thus a vast schism took place 
inside the aristocratic body. On the one aide were many 
nobles who, while still members of the Great Council, 
were excluded from participation in the supreme offices 
of the administration ; on the other, a few wealthy 
families, in whose hands the whole power in the State 
threatened to become concentrated. The divergence between 
the two classes grew more and more accentuated, and it 
was to the poorer class of nobles that the reformers looked 
r support in tlieir attack on the position of the Teii and 
the Three. The poor nobles, called Bnmabotti, commanded 
a majority in the Great Council, and tlie struggle which was 
now approaching resolved itself into a contest between the 
Maggior Consitflio, the basis of the whole Venetian constitu- 
tion, and the Council of Ten, the efficient member of the 
Venetian executive. 

Tliis commercial impoverishment, which produced the 
as of Sai-nabotli, was affecting not merely the noble caste 
tut the whole population as well. Leonardo Doni'i, in the 
speech from which we have already quoted, first confirms 
the growing poverty in Venice, and then points to the 
universal decline of trade as its cause : foreign merchants 
no longer come to Venice ; wanting them, industries fall off; 
population diminishes ; consumption of produce decreases ; 
customs dues shrink ; the ti'easury suffers. He lays the 
blame for all these disasters at the door of protection. 
Venice is a close port, with heavy duties on imports and 
exports, and governed by laws which prevent any but 
Venetian citizens from trading by sea, or from buying direct 
from traders and not through the medium of Venetian 
-jmiddlemen ; these oppressive burdens, he said, had thrown all 
Ifediterranean commerce into the hands of the Florentines 
pt Leghorn, and of the Genoese, both of whom were free 


traders ; while outside the Mediterranean the Levant trade 
was absorbed by the English and the DutcL The 
remedy, he suggested, was to open the port of 
Venice to foreign traders and merchants. If this were 
done, the natural advantages of her geographical position, 
lying so far into the heart of Europe, would again make 
themselves felt, and would restore prosperity to the State. 
" Unless some such step be taken," continued Donk, " your 
Excellencies must remember that we have no more ships, 
no sailors, no navigation, few merchants, little capital, the 
population is leaving the city, and even those merchants 
who still have houses, intend to foUow." The Govern- 
ment, in face of this disastrous condition of affairs, granted 
the freedom of the port to foreigners, under certain conditions ; 
and this proving insufficient to restore commercial activity, 
they, later on (1662), removed the import dues, but unwisely 
retained the export dues. The result was that merchants 
who brought their goods to Venice still experienced difficulty 
in distributing them over the continent; the goods lay 
locked up in Venetian warehouses. The commercial decline 
of the port continued, and the poverty it entailed produced 
a whole class among the citizens who were hostile to the 
Government from which they were excluded. This hostility 
coalesced with the indignation against the ever-growing 
power of the few great families, who made the Ten, the real 
core of the administration, their private appanage. 

A reformer appeared in the person of Eenier Zeno. He 
had distinguished himself during his Roman embassy by 
attacking various Venetian noblemen of note. He all^d 
that Antonio Doni had been guilty of appropriating the 
public funds, and that the Cardinal Dolfin was a paid 
emissary of France. He made himself so unpopular at the 
Vatican that the Government sent an ambassador -extra- 
ordinary, who took the management of affairs out of Zeno*s 
handa When Zeno returned to Venice he became the 
champion of the reform party. In spite of strong opposition 
from the executive the Great Council elected him a Ducal 
Councillor. Some violent words of his, uttered in the 
college, were held to be an insult to the Doge. The Ten 

met and summoned Zeno to present himself within eight 
days. He failed to do so, and was banisbed for a 
year to Pabna. 

During this period the Doge and his family, without 
raising any opposition from the chief authorities in the 
State, committed several acts in direct contravention of the 
statutes. One of the Doge's sons accepted a cardinal's hat, 
and two others were elected to the Senate. The reformers 
succeeded in securing the recall of Zev.o, whose time of 
banishment had nearly expired. On his return to Venice 
he was at once elected a member of the Ten, and began his 
attack on the illegal actions of the Doge and his family. 
He insisted on delivering iu person an admonition to the 
Supreme Magistrate, wliich he justified upon the ground of 
the duty he owed to the Great Council, from whom, as 
member of the Ten, he declared that he drew all his authority. 
In making this statement he was attempting to reaffirm the 
original conception of the constitution, that all offices of 
State drew their authority from the great constituent body, 
the MaggioT Co-nsiglio. The Doge gave way, and ordered the 
election of two other senators in the room of his two sons. 

So far, in spite of considerable tension, matters had pro- 
ceeded in order. But Zeno now insisted that the admonition 
to the chief of the State should be registered. This called 
up all the friends of the Doge, and in replying to them Zeno, 
in the Senate, made a further violent attack on the ducat 
conduct, pointing out freah instances in which he had 
contravened his coronation oath. Donato, a member of the 
Doge's party, rejoined by an attack on Zeno, declaring that 
he had acted illegally as a member of the Ten, in administer- 

BD admonition without the consent of his colleagues, 
was a statement of the independent position of the Ten 
against Zeno's view, that a decemvir was individually 
answerable to the Maggior Consiglio. When Zeno mounted the 
tribune for the purpose of replying, two of the Capi de Died 
ordered him to descend. He refused, declaring that they 
tad no authority to give such an order in the Senate. The 
chiefs said, " Then we shall summon the Ten." The sitting 
broke up in confusion. The question waa now lairly posed 


between the Copt (fe* Ditci and the Maggwr Consifflio. Zeno 
attacked the two in the first sitting of the Great 
Council. He moved that they had rendered them- 
selves liable to a fine, and requested the Council to declare 
whether or not a member of the Ten was within his rights 
in admonishing the Doge. The Council voted in favour 
of Zeno, and he secured a triumph. 

But the victory of Zeno exposed him to the bitterest 
hatred from the ducal party. On the evening of 30th 
December 1627, as he was standing at the Porta delk 
Carta of the palace, he was attacked by five individuals, 
and so severely wounded with a hatchet that he fell to the 
ground in a faint. He recovered, and his feelings against 
the Ten were more than ever embittered. He declared 
that they protected the Doge's party while they left him 
exposed to danger of assassination. The flight of the Doge's 
son Giorgio, immediately after the deed, left no doubt whence 
the blow had come. Giorgio was deprived of his nobility, his 
goods were confiscated, and, along with two of his companions, 
and two gondoliers, he was banished from the Stata But 
the Ten took no active measures to enforce the decree, and 
Giorgio was able to realise and save his property, and to live 
unmolested at Ferrara. Zeno insisted that, as he had suflFered 
in execution of his commission from the Great Council, 
the trial and punishment of his assailants belonged to that 
Council, not to the Ten. The Ten replied by enjoining upon 
him silence as regarded all matters already decided by their 
tribunal. Zeno kept silence for a while, but at length 
he spoke in the Maggior Consiglio, attacking the murderere 
of liberty, and inveighing against the order of the Ten, which 
forbade free discussion of afiairs. The Doge took part in 
the debate, constantly interrupted by Zeno : the sitting grew 
more and more stormy : the ducal party drowned the voices 
of their opponents by beating on the benches, and at last the 
assembly dissolved in uproar. The Ten immediately held a 
meeting. They ordered the arrest of Zeno, but instructed 
their officer to avoid finding him. They were afraid of 
a revolution. Zeno was cited to appear, and was con- 
demned in contumacy to ten years' imprisonment in Cattara 


This high-lmnded act, interfering with the freedom of debate 
in the Great Council, set the whole city in a blaze, 
and brought matters to a crisis. The Ten found 
themselves forced to give way. A commission to examine 
and revise the statutes of the Uecemviral Council was 
appointed. Following up the current of hostility t« the Ten, 
the Great Council cancelled as illegal the injunction to 
keep silence, and the sentence of banishnaent pronounced by 
the Ten ; and further, ordered those documents to be erased 
from all public registers. 

The Commission presented its report, and many of its 
recommendations were accepted. The Ten lost ite right to 

ise decisions of the Great Council, and some modifications 
in the election of its secretaries were approved. But the 
burning point — the jurisdiction over the patriciate — 
which the Commission wished to retain for the Died, raised 

f, as always, the most violent debate. It was proved, 
however, that the conduct of the nobles was essentially a 
matter of State importance, and the Commissioners carried 
their point. Aii order of the day wa£ passed definiiig the 
limits of the decemviral authority. It closed with these 
words : " The Council of Ten, and its chiefs, shall not in- 
terfere in any matters other than those above mentioned, 
without express orders from the Maggior Consi^lio. which 
alone is able to regulate ami define tlie authority of all the 
other magistracies in the Kepublic." This clause was de- 
signed as a sop to the defenders of the Great Council against 
the Ten ; but, as a matter of fact, the Tea retained all, or 
nearly all, their ancient authority, and after this long struggle 
they still emerged as the real governing body in the State. 

The episode of Eenier Zeno had in reality been pro- 
ductive of very little effect. It serves to show that the 
Kepublic, at the close of its career, was endeavouring to 
Teturn to its early constitutional conception, in which the 
liaggioT Consiglio was the core of the administration. The 
conditions of Venice remained the same as before. There 
still existed the poorer class of nobles in opposition to the 
few wealthy families who reserved to themselves the vital 
. Authority of the most powerful council in the State. 


The opposition became active once more in the 
eighteenth century. The only difference between 
the opposition of the seventeenth and the eighteenth 
centuries is, that the members of the latter were tinged 
with philosophical revolutionary ideas imported from 

The spirit of hostility to the Ten and the Three was 
fanned to a flame by a slight accident, which illustrates 
the looseness of the times and the petty tyranny which 
a Venetian noble was capable of exercising. Angelo 
Querini, a senator, in order to please a lady friend of a 
friend of his, procured an order of expulsion against a 
modiste, whose caps had not suited the lady in question. 
The modiste appealed to the Inquisitors of State, and they 
cancelled the order as imjust. Thereupon Querini began 
to complain of the intolerable tyranny of the Three. He 
quickly found sympathy, and formed a party among the poor 
nobles. The Three resolved to arrest and deport Querini 
to Verona. This act roused all the latent hostility of the 
Great Council, and, in 1761, they refused to elect the new 
members to the Council of Ten. The quarrel followed the 
same lines as the Zeno episode. A Conmiission was appointed 
to report on the authority of the Ten, and its delegation 
the Three. The Commission was divided, three signing a 
majority report in favour of the Inquisitors, and two pre- 
senting a minority report, in which they endeavoured to 
crush the tribunal of the Three, and to reduce all jurisdic- 
tion to the Ten alone. The whole episode, which ended 
in the complete triumph of the Three, is chiefly remarkable 
for the spirited and wise defence of that body by Marco 
Foscarini. " The tribunal has frequently saved the State 
from dangerous conspiracies. Its impartiality is above 
suspicion when we remember that oflBce lasts for one year 
only, and that any of its members can easily be removed by 
a decree of the Great CoimciL The Three have no funds at 
their disposal. It is certain, from the universal testimony 
of all statesmen, that no aristocratic Government can last 
for long unless it provide some corrective for its defects ; 
and these defects are want of rapidity and want of secrecy. 


Iq some comer of the constitution we must place b. rapid 
and a secret autliority. The body which punishes 
crimes will always be exposed to criticism and attack. 
Thanks to the Great Council and the Magistrates, the State 
has been able to preserve in efficiency the tribunal of the 
Three while preventing it from affecting the constitution of 
the Republic in any way." 

But in spite of the triumph of the Conservative party, 
French philosophical ideas were spreading rapidly in Venice, 
sapping the authority of the Government, and encouraging 

general break -down of ]aw and order. The Administration 
endeavoured to react against the growing spirit ; and when 
the inefficiency of their policy cauaed an outcry against the 
Ten, they tried to stifle criticism by closing all caf^s and 
wine-shops at nightfall, and forbidding the discussion of 
political topics. The following notice was found posted up : 

The company of night thieves thanks the Chief of the Ten 
for giving them the opportunity of winning their supper at a 
reasonable hour." 

The growing spirit of Kepublicanism found espresaioii 
when the Government proposed to take over the port, which 
lad hitherto been worked by a Guild. Giorgio Pisani 
"became the mouthpiece of the party, and declared such 
a policy to be " anti-politic, anti-economic, anti-civil, anti- 
forensic, anti- republican." Whenever a member of the 
Government speaks we find his remarks deeply tinged with 
a sense of disquietude, a dread of change, a presentiment of 
the end. This feeling received full expression when Carlo 
Contarini addressed the Great Council in 1779. "All is 
in confusion, in disorder," he exclaimed ; " our commerce 
18 languishing ; bankruptcies continually prove it. Food 
ia exorbitantly dear. That which sufSced once to maintain 
our families and left a margin to help the State, is 
now insufficient to keep us alive." When the Doge, 
Paolo Renier, speaks in 1780, the note ia the same. 

If there be any State in the world which absolutely 
requires concord at home, it is ours. We have no forces, 
neither on land nor on sea; we have no alliances. 
We live by luck, by accident, and solely dependent upon 


the conception of Venetian prudence which others entertain 
about us." Benier thought the evil lay in the schism 
between the rich and the poor nobility; between 
the democratic revolutionary ideas espoused by the one 
party, and the conservative and rigid ideas maintained by 
the other. And yet, while statesmen were using such 
language in the Council Chamber, the population of Venice, 
in its caf^s and salons, was entirely engrossed in discussing 
whether Vitalba, as Don Adone in Carlo Gozzi's Drogkt 
d^Amm'e, really represented Pier Antonio Gratarol, Secretary 
to the Senate; and Ballarin was detailing the triviaUties 
of Venetian society to his master, the ambassador of the 
Eepublic in France. 

The Republicanism of Giorgio Pisani, however, was not 
destined to alt«r the constitution of Venice. In spite of 
his great popularity, which secured for him election as Pro- 
curator of S. Mark, he and his party were not as strong 
as the Inquisitors of State. In May 1780 Pisani was 
arrested and deported to Verona. 



SE loDg process of decay and death which has formed the 

olorous tlieme of the preceding chapters, doea not, how- 

fer, represent the whole picture of Venetian decline. It 

the essential fact about the sixteenth, seventeenth, and 

(ghteenth centuries in Venice, but it was not the most 

fact. During this period the Venetians were 

mjoying, in a way which attracted and dazzled Europe, that 

bvely home wliich they had constructed for tliemsetves 

irbile the spirit of their constitutional vitality was still 

rid within them. The osseous structure, the rib-work of 

e constitution, remained long after the spirit had departed. 

!hat beautiful and variegated structure, the city of Venice, 

rived, and still survives and floats upon the waters of tlie 

jgh the force wliich gave it birth has disappeared, 

i is this extfirnal Venice which coutinues to exert such a 

tent fasciuation, and draws now, as it drew centuries ago, 

intless enthusiasts to the city in sea. 

My endeavour in the course of these pages has been 

f display the inner working of the Venetian spirit, to grasp 

' e essential features of Venetian political and constitutional 

We have seen how Venice was horn under the pressure 

barbaric invasion; bow the mainland refugees settled 

I flock of frightened birds upon the mud-bauks of the 

a ; how the fusion of discordant elements took placa 

^der the dread of attack. The physical diSiculties of 

r home gave the newcomers the master)' of seamansliip, 



and fitted them to take advantage of their opportunities 
when the Carolingian revival of Europe created a demand for 
foreign merchandise. Venice was launched as a commercial 
race, and mistress of the Mediterranean. In the fourth 
Crusade, actuated by a purely selfish policy, she committed 
a crime when she sacked Constantinopla The immediate 
results of this action were materially advantageous. 
But the rapid development produced two consequences. 
The population of the city increased, and with the in- 
crease came a division — a distinction between rich and 
poor, destroying the ancient equality of the Venetians, 
and creating a caste. This double process led up to the 
settlement of the constitution. Venice emerged from the 
Serrata del Maggior Consiglio under the dominion of a rigid 
oligarchy, with the Ten as its executive arm. The sack 
of Constantinople entailed further results. It brought 
Venice into collision with Genoa in a struggle for supremacy 
in the East She fought and destroyed her rival But each 
fresh success was surely leading to further complications. 
The continuous growth of population raised the question 
of her food supply. Without a food -yielding territoiy, 
Venice was in danger of starvation if defeated at sea. Her 
neighbouring princes, Scala, Carrara, Visconti, were weak 
compared with the Republic. Their feebleness oflfered her 
the occasion which she took. She put out her hand, 
created a land empire, and reached the apogee of her 

But now arrived the consequences of her actions. The 
sack of Constantinople let the Turks into Europe. The 
destruction of the Genoese left them supreme in the Levant 
Venice lost her Eastern trade. 

The creation of a land empire roused the jealousy of 
Italian princes and the alarm of European sovereigns, lest 
the balance of power should be disturbed. Venice was 
crushed by the League of Cambray. The discovery of the 
Cape route completed her ruin. The rigidity of her consti- 
tution kept her alive to all appearances, but what remained 
was the mere shell ; the vital spirit, the initiatory principle, 
had disappeared. 


Ajid yet it was & beautiful shell which the Venetian 
spirit bad constructed as '\X& dwelling-place. A Venetian 
writer, Sansovino, calls his history of the city FeTtma, 
cHUl nobili^ma e svngolare: nobilissima in its pomp of 
palaces and the splendour of its decorative art, siiigolare 
for the beauty of its natural position, floating on the waters 
between sea and sky and Alps. The long series of eulogiate, 
stretching through the centuries, bear sufficient witness to 
the truth of Sanso^'ino's title. Cassiodorus, Longinus, 
Enrico da Rimiiu, Petrarch, Coryat, Fynes Moryson, St 
I Didier, De Brosse, George Sand, Goethe, Byron, Shelley, 
L Jtogers, and so on, through the list of living moderns, all 
; paid their tribute of devotion to that wonderful aea- 
1 of the Adriatic, which the Venetian spirit evolved for 
ielf during the long process of its birth, growth, and 
:ay. There can be no mistake as to the fervour of the 
3sion ; it is impossible to doubt the sincerity of the accent 
, by way of example, Cassiodorus's " Hie vobis aqua- 
ilium avium more donius est" ; or Canal's " Por henor de 
noble cite que Ten apelle Venise" ; or Moiyson's 
ia most noble city, as well for the situation, and for the 
idom which citizens and very strangers have, and for 
fold other causes, is worthily called in Latine Venetia, 
. were veni etiam, that is. Come again" ; or Howell's 
? Renowned Venice, the admiredst citie in the world, a citie 
lat all Europe is bound unto. Did you know the rare 
»uty of the virgin city, you would quickly make love to 

" Sun-girt city, thou haat been 
Ocean's bride and then her queen." 

} writers vie with each other in the warmth of their 


Nor is this fervour altogether singular. In no other 

■ity of the world, perhaps, have natural beauty of position 

pid wealth of decorative art combined to produce so homo- 

meous a whole. Large tracts of Venetian history may be 

plored in the architectiu'e of Venice. The remnants of 

e ancient temples, the columns and capitals of so many 


Venetian churches, recall the flight from the mainland and 
the earliest settlement in the lagoons. S. Mark's, with its 
Eastern aroma, bears continual witness to the connection 
between Venice and the Greek Empire, and is the monument 
of her greatest glories. The Ducal Palace, and the splendid 
private dwellings which line the Grand Canal, are reminis- 
cent of Venetian land empire. 

Her painting, no less than her architecture, is intimatelj 
connected with the history of the Republic. That art 
bloomed to perfection after Venice had touched her apogee, 
had reached her highest point of vigour in her development 
upon the mainland ; and those master brushes of Veronese 
and Tintoret were largely employed in chronicling the 
glories of Venice in the home of her chief magistrate. 
After the League of Cambray the Republic resigned herself 
to the role of magnificent self-presentation, and her great 
masters, one and all — Titian, Tintoret, Veronese, Tiepolo — 
assisted her design ; they are decorators called upon to make 
the Ducal Palace, the Guild Hall, the private house, worthy 
of the Venetian claim to be the most gorgeous city in 

Whether or not the absence of any considerable litera- 
ture in Venice is to be explained on the theory that poetiy 
was unessential to her role, that she required the decx)rative 
rather than the reflective arts, the fact remains that the 
Republic gave birth to no poet of the first rank. Her 
chief services to literature undoubtedly lie in the protection 
and encouragement which she offered to the art of printing; 
and she received her reward in the glory which such names 
as John of Spires, Jenson, Ratdolt, Aldus, Giolitti, bestow 
upon the city of the lagoon. 

The enthusiasm which Venice awakened in those who 
visited her is no doubt due in part to the amenity and the 
pleasurability of life on the lagoons. Moryson notes **the 
freedom which the citizens and very strangers have." Venice 
laid herself out to be a city of diversion for Europe, " the 
revel of the earth, the masque of Italy," and she succeeded. 
" Veni etiam " she is supposed to have said to her guests, 
and most of them were only too ready to return. Of 

urae this glittering sea of pleasure concealed dark abysses 
corruption where a whole world of loose cliaractera 
[lived, moved, and had their heing. We catch glimpses of 
this doubtful region in such cases as those of Bragadin, the 
ixtee nth-century Cagliostro, with his amma tf oro to gull the 
f greedy and needy patriciana ; or again in that vivid episode 
of Venetian life, the murder of Lorenzino de' Medici ; or in 
Lord Orford'a curious publication ; or, above all, in the un- 
published calendars of the criminal departments of the Ten 
or the Holy Office. 

The decline of the Republic, the failure of her vital 
force, did not intemipt the flow of pleasure, nor check the 
Haunting glories of civic state. Amusement, ease of life, 
when business and battles were over, was still sought for 
and found. The political effacement of the Republic, and 
the rigid prohibition of politics as a topic, left Venetian 
society with little but the trivialities of life Ui eng^e its 
attention. The Ulustrissimi, in periwig and crimson cloak 
and aword, sauntered on the Liston, at the foot of the Cam- 
panile, in the Square. The ladies over their chocolate tore 
each other's characters to shreds. Venice laughed when 
the following mot, at the expense of the Procuratessa Tron, 
went the i-onnd of the salons : " La Trona vendeva el palco 
pirt cars dela persona." " Gave razon," replied that spirited 
lady, " perchfe questa, al caso, la dono." They might dis- 
cuss with ribald tongues the eccentric tastes of the great 
Procuratore Andrea Tron, but if they ventured to surest 
a remedy for financial embarrassments, if they dared to 
contemplate a reform, deportation to Verona stared them in 
the face. And so life waa limited to the listen, the caK, 
the casino ; to a first night at the Teatro San Moise or San 
Samuele ; to a cantata at the Mendicnnte. the FietA, or 
IncurabilL Their excitements were scandal and gambling — 
.though the game of panfil was forbidden upon pain of 
death, pfiui la vita al soliio — varieri by the interest which 
might be roused by a battle-royal between Goldoni and 
(lozzi, or the piquant processo of Pier Antonio Gratarol. 
Sometimes the whole city would be thrown into a flutter 
by the arrival of some princes incogniti, like the Counts of 


the North, when the ladies would put on their finest dre 
and fight with each other outside the royal box for (j 
honour of presentation. 

Tiepolo painted their houses with hues as delid 
evanescent, aerial, as the miracle of a scirocco day < 
lagoon; Longhi depicted their lives in the Ridotto, in i 
parlour of a convent, in the alcove ; Chiari, Goldoni, ( 
Buratti, or Baffo wrote for them ; Galuppi, Jomelli, Hae 
Faustina Bordone, made music to them in their i 
toires. There was taste — though rococo ; there was wit- 
though malicious, in their salons, where the cicisbeo and ( 
abhatino ruflled their laces, toyed with teacups, learned \ 
carry their hat upon their hip while leaning on the back ■ 
a lady's chair. And this diffusion of taste found its \ 
expression in a late rinascimento of Venetian art and c 
ture, pungent in Buratti, realistic in Longhi and Goldoni, 
fanciful and capricious in Carlo Gozzi ; reminiscent of the 
great age, while looking forward to the modem world, to 
post-revolution art, in the work of that superb master 
Tiepolo, whose easel pictures might have hung in the saion, 
and been painted by the most recent of plein^airUts. It 
was a charming existence, which Venetians and foreigners 
alike enjoyed. The Venetians appeared to their visitors as 
a happy family, disturbed by no more serious troubles than 
the pretty tempers and humours of its pets. Goethe likens 
the Doge to " the grandpapa of all tlie race " ; the heir to 
the Russian throne exclaims, " Voili I'effet du sage gouveme- 
ment de la EL^publique. Ce peuple est une famille," An 
easy, elegant, charming life the Venetians spent in their 
beautiful chambers, stuccoed in low relief and tinted with 
mauve and lemon, with pistaccio green and salmon ; there 
they read their Baffo, their Buratti, their Calmo ; and 
thence late at night, or rather in the early morning, they 
were wont to pass across the lagoon to the Lido, where, 
they made a matutinal supper and paid their orisons to the 
rising sun. 

But all this charm, this amenity, this decor of life, was 
doomed to be swept away. Mightier forces of a younger 
and therefore more vigorous birth were at work beyond the 


Could the Republic have aurvived the shock of the 
I French Eevolution, had she been able to resist Napoleon till 
[ England had time to appreciate the value of her position 
I BS a point of attack against the conqueror, and to come to 
I her rescue, the State of Venice, whatever modifications she 
I might have undergone in her constitution, would probably 
I Iiave maintained her independence. 

That, however, was not to be. In 1 796 Bonaparte arrived 

I in Italy. He had the Anstrians in front of him. Venetian 

I territory was quite unprovided with defences sufBcient to 

3 its neutrality. It became the field of operations for 

I both armies. The Republic could only complain at Vienna